Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Hundreds hunt Champs tickets

Published:Tuesday | March 29, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Patrons rush to purchase tickets for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the ticket booth outside the National Stadium yesterday. The annual four-day meet will begin tomorrow and run through to Saturday at the National Stadium. Check out related video at www.jamaica-gleaner.com/videos. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Long lines and disgruntlement marked the opening of ticket sales yesterday for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships as hundreds of fans braved the elements and waited four hours for a chance to get their hands on the high-demand tickets.

Sitting just across the road from the National Stadium - the venue which will host the March 30-April 2 meet - the container office that houses the venue's ticket booth was swarmed from as early as 5 a.m. by track and field enthusiasts anticipating a mad rush on the last 1,000 or so tickets available for the meet.

Vehicles lined both sides of the roadway in the vicinity of the National Stadium and the police and private security personnel were out in their numbers bright and early as patrons queued in searing heat. This is what a Champs tickets means to so many.

Aiming to limit resale

Despite expecting an 8 a.m. start to the sale process, the ticket hopefuls were left to wait until close to midday before the first purchase was allowed. There was, however, more bad news for some as moments after the tickets went on sale, ticketing official Albert Corcho announced to the masses that no one would be allowed to purchase in excess of three tickets.

This an obvious move on the part of the organisers to limit the chance of persons buying tickets in large quantities for the purpose of resale.

"Mi deh yah from 5:30 this morning and plan fi buy bout 10 tickets. And after mi wait so long inna sun hot, dem a tell mi seh mi can only get three tickets. Dis a foolishness! Every year dem come wid dem rubbish!" said a clearly annoyed young man just minutes after picking up his tickets.

"Mi just glad mi get my three, still. Mi wud like fi get a few more, yes, but a suh it go. See dem deh: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A from 5 a.m. mi reach yahso and a after 12 now, but mi glad mi get some, still," Pedro, a resident of Nannyville, chipped in.

Several persons, who had left work in the hope that they would have enough time to grab their tickets and return, rued the late start, and while some decided to wait it out, others were simply not prepared to risk their employment.

"I asked my boss for an extra 30 minutes on my lunchtime, but staying here seems like a waste of time because I certainly won't make it back on time," hissed a frustrated Cheryl Coombs, seconds before leaving the line in a huff.

And, of course, there were those looking to benefit from the situation.

"Water, water! Min' unnu faint! Buy a water and save unnu life," beseeched one vendor in the midst of the throng.

On Sunday, Colleen Montague, chairperson of ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships, indicated that everything was in place for the ticket-sale process and that there were still many unfilled seats, especially in the bleachers section.

"We have tickets for all days. The only day we had a problem with, as per usual, is Saturday, and we have a limited number available for grandstand, but we do have thousands available for the bleachers section, even for Saturday," Montague said.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com