André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Track and field fans will have to pay a little more to attend this year's 37th staging of the Gibson Relays, but organisers do not expect the adjustments to have a negative impact on the February 23 meet, scheduled for the National Stadium.
Tickets for the bleachers section have been increased by $100 and will now cost $300 while grandstand seats will be going for $2,000 (finish line) and $1,500 at what is considered the first big meet on the local track and field calendar.
Chairman of the organising committee Professor Rainford Wilks says he is anticipating another successful staging of the meet, which was created in honour of Kingston College founder Bishop Percival William Gibson.
Wilks, while mindful of the challenging economic climate, is also confident that the stadium will once again be filled for the relay carnival, which is one of the few that features competition at all levels; from primary and prep schools to clubs and institutions.
"I am very excited, it has been some very difficult economic times but the sponsors have stuck with us, we are obviously still giddy and very excited from London 2012. It's a World Championships year and we expect a large turnout, and high interest and that is reflected in the entries so far, so we are very excited about our planning and the support we are getting from the sponsors and the public," said Wilks at yesterday's launch at Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
"I don't expect the increased prices to affect the turnout. Let's look at the bleachers, if you attend any of the developmental meets weekly its $200 for entry and our prices have been $200 over the years and it will be $300 this year," reasoned Wilks. "For the grandstand, the finish line tickets will be $2,000 and the rest of the grandstand will be $1,500, which are very competitive, especially compared to Boys and Girls' Champs, so I think it's justified and necessary."
"Jamaica's performance at last year's London Olympics continues to fuel the country's appetite for athletics and the Gibson Relays is very proud of its role in the development of track and field in this country," Wilks continued, before paying tribute to the event's sponsors.
"No tribute can be too great for our sponsors, the current economic situation is very bad and it must have taken serious resolve on your part to stay with the Gibson Relays this year," Wilks said.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company will again assist in the transportation of spectators with services from the National Stadium to Cross Roads, Half-Way Tree, Harbour View, Portmore and Spanish Town.