Kipketer coming for Gibson Relays
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
World 800 metres record holder, Denmark's Wilson Kipketer, will be the guest lecturer at this year's Gibson Relays technical corner.Kipketer, winner of three successive IAAF World Championships in Athletics gold medals in 1995, 1997 and 1999 is scheduled to arrive in the island four days before the February 27 relays at the National Stadium.
The native Kenyan who retired from active competition in August 2005 currently holds eight of the 11 all-time fastest runs over 800 metres. He will address athletes at the GC Foster College during the week leading up to the Relays and will also be a special guest of the organisers on the day of the Relays.
Chairman of the Gibson Relays organising committee, Neville 'Teddy' McCook, explained the reasons for inviting Kipketer at yesterday's sponsors' luncheon held at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
"We were trying to get him here from last year because the president of the JAAA had indicated to us that they wanted to develop middle and long distance running and I think that we have a responsibility to assist in this direction and felt that we could get Mr Kipketer here," McCook said. "We thought that this was an opportune time since we have a technical corner each year, with the lecture geared towards an area of development needs," he added.
The Gatorade record-breakers prize will, for the fourth year, be a feature of the Gibson Relays. It is a prize pool of $500,000, which will be shared among athletes who areaffiliated to a Jamaican educational institution and have demonstrated excellence in track and field by breaking a record.
"We try to always do something that will encourage development and this is something that Pepsi has brought on-board to commemorate their association with the Relays over the years," McCook said.
This is, however, not the only attraction that McCook is anticipating at the meet as he expects great competition in the hurdles events.
"The hurdles event should be good this year because we are concentrating on getting good hurdlers from the High Performance Training Centre," he said.
Overseas competitors are expected from Martinique, Canada, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Cuba and Guadeloupe for this year's Relays.