Digicel launches extraordinary Grand Prix
The top-performing boy and girl at this year's third staging of the Digicel Grand Prix Championships will win an all-expense-paid trip to the 2017 IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas.
This was among a number of new features, which were rolled out by sponsors Digicel during yesterday's press launch, which was held at the company's head office in Downtown, Kingston.
Chief among the changes are that the top two athletes from the eight disciples will advance to the final of the Grand Prix. However, these athletes will not be able to take points from the quarter-finals of the regional meets over into the finale.
The Championships will involve five meets in the Western, Eastern, Central and Corporate Area Championships along with the G.C. Foster Classic.
The events to be contested over the course of the series will be the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus, and 4x400m.
Digicel's CEO, David Butler, pointed out to The Gleaner that the event has grown tremendously since its first staging in 2015.
"We have seen a remarkable increase in the number of participants since the first year and the series has become well known not just in Jamaica, but right across the Caribbean and in the Tri-State Areas thanks to live and post television broadcast of the championships," said Butler.
"We are very happy to have played a part in helping each school achieve this and we look forward to further contributing to the development of athletics right across Jamaica. We want to see our young athletes grow from grassroots to greatness," Butler added.
The Ministry of Sports, through the Social Development Foundation, have injected $2 million in this year's event. Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, in making the announcement, outlined the Government's commitment to the development of sport in Jamaica.
The winning school of this year's event will receive $1-million worth of sporting equipment, while record-breaking athletes will also be up for individual scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 each.
The Grand Prix gets under way on February 18 with the Western Championships at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay.
The five series meet also include the Eastern Championships on February 28 and the Anthrick Corporate Area Development meet on March 2. Both meets will be held at the Usain Bolt Track at the UWI Mona campus.
The series will be rounded out with the Central Championships at the G.C. Foster College in St Catherine on March on 8 before closing at the National Stadium on March 11 with the G.C. Foster Classic.
The defending champion schools are St Elizabeth Technical High School in the boys category and Edwin Allen High among the girls.