Digicel Grand Prix helps smaller schools shine - Riley
Head coach of Excelsior High School's track and field programme, David Riley, says the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championships helps schools with smaller athletics programmes to shine.
Pointing to his own team which finished third among the girls teams and in the top five among the boys' teams in the 2016 Grand Prix series, Riley said higher-quality athletes were able to earn valuable points from fewer events, compared to the annual Boys and Girls' Championships, in which larger teams win by harnessing more points.
Excelsior athletes who performed well at Saturday's Grand Prix final at G.C. Foster College were Shanice Love, who won the girls' Under-20 discus with a record throw of 50.39 metres; Andre Garvey, who was third in the boys' Under-20 discus; Joel Morgan, who won the boys' Under-16 long jump; Jonathan Smith, who was third in the Under-20 long jump; and Kaliah Jones, who was second in the girls' Under-17 high jump.
"It's a great opportunity for the schools to go out there and not use 10,000 people to win a championship. It works for teams like ours that have quality athletes, but can't score 200 and 300 points to win Champs, but because we have six good athletes [we] can go there and compete against the six athletes that are good for the other schools.
"It's a great opportunity for schools that are small and have good-quality athletes and not have to pad their performance. It great for small teams and great for teams with quality," he said.
Edwin Allen girls and St Jago boys were named Grand Prix champion schools.
Riley added that the more sponsors that track and field is able to attract, the better.
"The Grand Prix is a positive thing for the sport. The sport is part of an entertainment package that we have not really been exploring a lot, and anything that makes it big is going to help the sport," he said.