All is set for tomorrow’s Gibson McCook Relays
Chairman of the Organising committee for the Gibson McCook Relays, Professor Rainford Wilks, says that all is set for tomorrow’s 43rd staging of the event to be held at the National Stadium. Preparation for tomorrow’s meet kicked off on Wednesday night at the University of Technology auditorium with the Howard Aris Memorial Lecture where many-time Olympian Dr Gregory Haughton was the guest speaker.
“Everything is in place for another staging of this illustrious event. The meet can be broken up into a few major areas we call functional areas. There is venue, sponsors, the technical aspects, promotions, transportation, and maybe a few others and all are in place as we have very good teams in those areas and these people have been doing it for years. There is always going to be last-minute surprises but we believe everything is in place,” Professor Wilks said.
There were fears leading up to this year’s staging that the Stadium East, which has been used over the years for warm-up and holding area for athletes would have been out of use due to renovation work on the running track, but in midweek, Wilks got good news that things will be OK.
“One of our greatest fears was whether the Stadium East would have been ready for the warm-up area and as I had said in another place, the meet is too large for any ad hoc solutions so we were definitely banking on the promises which came from as high as the Minister of Sports, and Tuesday we were reassured that it would have been ready and all the other functional areas – medical, anti-doping, security, presentations, and opening ceremony are in place,” added Wilks.
The president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) athletic association, Victor Lopez, will be at tomorrow’s meet. The relays will be used to recognise the three individuals who were declared best performers in the area in their events. NACAC awards will be presented to discus thrower Fedrick Dacres, World Under-20 sprint champion Briana Williams and coach Julian Robinson.
“We are going to find the time during the opening ceremony to do those presentations,” Wilks said.
Last year’s meet saw the absence of national high school boys’ champions Calabar High but this time around, the Red Hills Road team will compete and Wilks stated that everybody will be at the meet this year.
“Everybody, including Calabar will be at the meet. We have the fortune this time around that the meet is not clashing with the Grand Prix Digicel series as last year we had a meet on the Wednesday prior to our meet on the following Saturday and we know that athletes have to be managed properly so we are fortunate this time around and with everyone back in the fold, we will able to see the best on show,” concluded Wilks, who reassured that there will be a prompt start as usual to the event. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the first race is due to begin at 9 a.m.