Tue | Jun 27, 2017

Bolt is a privilege - Grange

Published:Saturday | March 18, 2017 | 3:00 AMRachid Parchment
Leon Mitchell (second right), assistant general manager of the JN Group, and Gillian Hyde (right), general manager, JN Small Business Loans, present a cheque to Glen Mills (left), president of the Racers Track Club, while Usain Bolt (second left), and Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange share in the moment during the JN Racers Grand Prix launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange says that Jamaicans should feel privileged to have seen sprint legend Usain Bolt compete.

Grange was speaking at the launch of the JN Racers Grand Prix, and hailed Bolt for continually achieving excellence on behalf of the country. She described him as someone who is a superstar but also very humble, adding that he should be respected for succeeding every time he competed.

"We have said it many times. He's extraordinary, he's wonderful, he's funny, he's truly amazing," Grange said. "But I'm not sure that we quite understand yet what a privilege it is for us to live in the time of Usain Bolt. In a way, he has spoilt us - not only Jamaicans, but he has spoilt the entire world! He represents tremendous talent, hard work and he knows how to have fun."

STATUE THIS SUMMER

Grange also reminded the audience that Bolt will be honoured at Statue Park at the National Stadium this summer with an eight-foot statue to be made by local sculptor Basil Watson.

"We are on schedule to complete this statue by Independence and to have the mounting coincide with Bolt's final World Championships in London," Grange said. "It will be spoken about and studied by athletes for generations to come. I'm determined that Jamaica will do its part in memorialising and celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime athlete, and there are more things to come."

The minister said that although this is only the second staging of the meet, she is expecting it to be a "highly anticipated event".

"(This is) particularly because the country's greatest athletics son - the world's greatest athlete, Usain Bolt - will compete for us one last time on home soil. Is that so?" Grange said while jokingly suggesting to Bolt that she wants him to reconsider retirement.

- R.P.