Wesley Powell meet hailed for its over-distance focus
Despite being one of just three middle- and over-distance events on the local calendar for the past 14 years, Desmond Shakespeare, committee chairman for the Wesley Powell Heart Institute of the Caribbean Track and Field Meet, is hoping for continued improvements to their Excelsior High School-hosted event.
The meet, which began in 1998 to honour late founder Dr Aston Wesley Powell, will take place on Saturday, December 10, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
It was launched inside Excelsior's auditorium yesterday.
Veteran track and field coach Maurice Wilson, who was a guest speaker at the event, lauded event organisers for sticking to the over-distance format, which in his view helps with development.
While over 1,700 athletes have represented around 53 teams in the last two years, the meet chairman told The Gleaner that they are aiming to have more athletes and more spectators.
"It's been growing, and the participation has been excellent from the other schools. If we get 2,000 athletes this year, it would be good because we have the facilities to house them, our warm-up field is different from where the track is and the whole Excelsior has at least three fields which we utilise," he outlined.
The meet will feature 40 track events and 36 field events for males and females in classes one to four. The events include; the 150m, 300m, 600m, 1000m, 3000m, 500m and 4x300m open, respectively.
There will also be long jump, high jump; discus and javelin open competition in the same classes.
Clubs, colleges and institutions can also compete.
Meet director, Olympian Grace Jackson, calls it an important measuring stick for coaches ahead of the new track and field season.
Meanwhile, the call for athlete screening prior to participation in competitive sports is high on the agenda of title sponsors Heart Institute of the Caribbean.
They will be hosting an important athlete workshop on Healthy Hearts and How to Know Your Heart Is Healthy on the preceding Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the school.
Gates will be open to all student-athletes across the island, who will get a chance to interact with cardiologists from the Heart Institute of the Caribbean during the session.
There will be three honourees at the meet this year - Allison Peart, from the Excelsior community; sprint coach Glen Mills; and administrator Ian Forbes.