André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Viewers from over seven countries streamed last year's staging of the Camperdown Classic and organisers are anticipating increased interest, particularly with the expected involvement of the Racers Track Club sprint factory.
Scheduled for the National Stadium on February 9, the meet, which will also this year honour former Camperdown student-athletes Sharon Ann Mowfatt and Audrey Llewellyn-Hunter Washington, has served as a traditional season-opener for double world record holder and Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt.
Chairperson Cynthia Cooke was, however, careful not to make any direct promises at yesterday's press launch at the Spanish Court hotel in New Kingston, but as expected, the meet, which was founded by Racers president and head coach, Glen Mills, should feature a heavy contingent from the University of the West Indies-based club.
READY FOR THE CLASSICS
"At this point in time, as of today, Racers Track Club will be there in their full strength. The only thing that would normally prevent an athlete from participating is serious injury, or you know if they just had an injury and the coach wants to be careful, or sponsorship commitments, which are not in Jamaica," Cooke noted.
"So barring none of that, all the Racers Athletes are preparing for the Camperdown Classics. They are all anxious and awaiting the Classics, that's the buzz in the camp," said Cooke, who is also the general secretary at the track club, which also counts sprint stars Yohan Blake and Warren Weir among its membership.
The meet has proven popular with coaches and athletes, with some 2,500 athletes on the cards to compete at the highly anticipated 'Champs' 'warm-up'. Cooke is also expecting the streaming facility, which will be available at www.camperdownclassic.com, to once again prove an appreciated feature for track enthusiasts across the island and overseas.
"The people have been sending in messages that last year it (stream) was so clear and that they felt as if they were there, and we feel it's a good comment and we want to continue it," Cooke said. "We are expecting about 2,500 athletes and in terms of planning we are right there, we can have it tomorrow."
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association first vice-president, Dave Myrie, congratulated the organisers on their continued success.
"I congratulate the Camperdown Classics on its ninth annual staging and commend its founders, Glen Mills and also Cynthia Cooke, for their vision and foresight in conceptualising an event that has become a hallmark on the track and field calendar," said Myrie.
Cash prizes will once again be presented to the top three teams in the boys and girls Class One 4x100m relays. $60,000 will be given to the first-place finisher, with second and third place walking away with $25,000 and $15,000, respectively.