UPDATED: Weekend start for Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship
Top high school athletes from across the island will do battle for $16 million in cash and prizes in the 2016 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, which gets under way this Saturday with the Western Championships at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith National Athletics Classics at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Events to be contested in the seven-event Grand Prix Series are the 100 metres, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus, and 4x400m.
The Grand Prix will continue with the Corporate Area Development Meet at the National Stadium on Thursday, February 11; Camperdown Classic at the National Stadium on Saturday, February 13; Central Championships at G. C. Foster College on Tuesday, February 16; and the Grand Prix final at the G. C. Foster Classics at G. C. Foster College on Saturday, February 20.
The top two athletes from each event from the first five meets will earn the first six spots in the finals. There will be two wild card positions for the two next best athletes from any meet.
Athletes will get nine points for a win; seven for second place; six, five, four, three, two, and one point for individual events; and 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 for the relay.
Points will be accumulated from the regional meets and carried over to the Grand Prix Final to determine the overall school champions.
Technical committee chairman Maurice Wilson is expecting stiff competition in the sprints at the Western Championships, while the field events should take the spotlight in Kingston.
"The 100m and the 200m should bring a lot of attention because the athletes from that region are comparable to athletes from the central and other regions. With the Youngster Goldsmith, the long jump should be of interest because of athletes coming out of Calabar High and even as far as Oberlin High. With Kingston College and Calabar, we are expecting good competition in the throws and the discus," he said.
St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), the defending boys' champions, should get a head start with defending 200m Grand Prix champion Nigel Ellis expected to perform well again this season.
Wilson also challenged athletes to hunt for prizes that would add to their schools' programmes.
The champion schools will receive $1 million, runner-up $500,000, and third-place $200,000 worth of gym equipment.
Should an athlete break a record at any of the six meets, he/she will be awarded a scholarship that will be made payable directly to the school that the athlete will be attending in September 2016.
The coaches of the 2016 Digicel Grand Prix Athletic Championship-winning male school and female school will each receive $50,000.
*Earlier this story had said that the Camperdown Classic would be held at the Usain Bolt Track on Saturday, February 13. That was incorrect. It will in fact be held at the National Stadium.