History of excellence ... JIIM organisers target continued success
For the past 14 years, the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM) has brought some of the finest talents track and field has to offer to sports fans in Jamaica and the organisers believe that they have laid the groundwork for future success, as they get ready for the 15th anniversary this Saturday at the National Stadium.
Richard Bowen, a member of the Organising Committee, said the execution of the meet each year has seen JIIM move rapidly through the IAAF meet ranking, which, according to him, has set the foundation for a bright future.
"For the first four years, it was an international meet. In year five, we got the Area Permit Meet status, and then the next year we became APMQ, and what that means is that it became a qualifier where athletes can earn points to be able to compete in Diamond League. And then we got the World Challenge status five years ago," Bowen explained.
Bowen said it is the royal treatment that the athletes receive which has attracted the likes of Marion Jones, Felix Sanchez, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, Sanya Richards-Ross and many other stars over the years.
"I remember one year we had Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay running in the meet, but they didn't want to compete with each other that early in the season and Tyson asked to run the 400m. That is the extent to which they wanted to run at this meet," Bowen recalled.
And the sport's finest will again be on show this year, as Elaine Thompson and Shericka Jackson are among the highlights, with the pair set to continue their duel in the women's 200m.
OTHER BIG NAMES
Other top names include American stars, quarter-miler LaShawn Merritt, 400m hurdler Kerron Clement, sprinter Ronnie Baker and 400m World champion Phyllis Francis, as well as top-ranked Jamaicans, Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Janieve Russell, who won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in shot put and 400m hurdles, respectively.
Also listed to feature are Javon Francis, Ristananna Tracey, the World Champs 400m hurdles bronze medal winner, and Stephenie-Ann McPherson.
Tickets for the meet go on sale tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the National Stadium ticket office, York Pharmacy, and The Jamaica Pegasus.
Finish-line tickets cost $4,500, limited grandstand $3,500, regular grandstand $1,500 and bleachers $500. Gates will open at 2 p.m.