Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Gibson McCook Relays gets Caribbean flavour

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment
Professor Rainford Wilks
St Elizabeth Technical's Nigel Ellis celebrates after piloting his school to victory in the high school boys 4x400 metres at the Gibson McCook Relays last year.

This year's staging of the Gibson McCook Relays will see teams competing from across the Caribbean as organisers look to address the public's requests for more overseas competition.

Organising committee chairman, Professor Rainford Wilks, said the committee has got feedback from teams in the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados about their participation, but said he could not specifically name the teams that would be looking to take part in the meet on February 25 at the National Stadium.

"The request has not filtered down to schools and institutions as yet," Wilks said. "This is because we are not in touch with those. We're in touch with the federations, so maybe by next week, we'll get down to the schools, but we have had a request for a national team to come from Barbados and from Trinidad and Tobago and we are pretty sure we're gonna get a high-school team from the Cayman Islands."

Wilks said that, so far, only the Cayman Islands have confirmed an entry, but added that entries will close on Saturday and he can only make more definitive statements about confirmations at that point.




The committee is hoping for a larger turnout this time around as it believes that last year's general election affected the build-up to the event, as well as the turnout.

"We hope we don't have any rain and we hope we don't have a general election," Wilks joked. "Both of those negatively affected the meet last year, but we feel that the meet is at an advanced stage and it's pretty mature. However, we do have some constraints. We can't add new events because of the time constraints. We have a full day so there's not a lot of room for improving on the event. We can improve on quality and we can always improve on the smoothness of the running of the meet. We feel that we have done a good job so far but the public has always clamoured for some overseas participation and we are turning our eyes to the Caribbean, diligently trying to bring our Caribbean neighbours to the meet."

He continued that the standard of competition is expected to be of what he calls a "high quality", as he said that he expects high-school athletes to be in good condition. He added that he expects the athletes he described as elites (those representing the various local and regional clubs) to give their best because they are alumni of the event.

This year is the 41st staging of the meet and will see athletes from preparatory, primary, secondary schools, and tertiary institutions, as well as various track clubs, competing in 45 different events.