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Racers await approval for ‘top quality’ track meet in 2016

Published:Monday | June 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

NEW YORK, New York:

Racers Track Club president and head coach Glen Mills is awaiting approval from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for the staging of an Area Permit certified track meet next June and believes its addition to the calendar can only bring positive returns to the island's athletics.

The Racers Grand Prix was already on the front burner this year, with over half of the budget, US$600,000 raised. The meet, however, had to be postponed due to scheduling issues.

However, with the president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Victor Lopez indicating his support for the event, which Mills and his team are hoping will be approved for June 11, 2016, things seem to be heading in the right direction.

"We have plans to stage the Racers Grand Prix next year," said Mills. "We have submitted the application to the JAAA for the date, after which an application is made to NACAC for the approval of the permit."

"We were planning to have it last year but we ran into administrative difficulties with the date. This year we started our due diligence and planning early and we are making the necessary applications so we can be in a position to stage the inaugural meet next year," added Mills. "We are looking forward to strong and wide international and local support for the meet. We are hoping that it will become a major fundraiser for the club and to assist in our development plans."

overwhelming support

Mills added: "The support was overwhelming, we got a lot of positive response from the international community and we were set to get a number of top athletes who had never competed in Jamaica before," Mills continued.

If approved, the proposed Racers Grand Prix would be staged just over a month after the Jamaica International Invitational, but the highly regarded coach does not see an issue with this, and believes more top quality meets can only benefit the region's athletes and countries.

"If it was possible for every country in the NACAC region to put on meets of this nature, it would be good because a large number of our athletes do not get the chance to compete at the Diamond League or World Challenge levels and so the whole question of creating more meets within the region is of paramount importance," Mills countered.

European meets

"The meets in Europe as we knew them in the past are fast changing and a lot of the second-tier meets are dropping off the radar and those that are functioning do not have the budget to bring an athlete from the Caribbean to compete," he added.

"What we are waiting on; and we have written to the JAAA, we have applied for their approval of the date so that the application can be made to NACAC. I have spoken to the NACAC president and he is fully on board and he has written to us expressing his support because it falls within the ambits of what they want in the region and they would love to see more of these meets in the region to the point where we could have a circuit here," said Mills.