Stars set to shine at UTech Classics
Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
All is set for today's third staging of the University of Technology (UTech) Track and Field Classics at the National Stadium, with athletes from the island's two major clubs - Racers and MVP - getting ready to square off.
It is expected that all of MVP's medallists from last year's IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be present, while all of Racers' top charges, except Olympic and world sprint double world record holder, Usain Bolt, will also be on show.
When contacted yesterday, Anthony Davis, director of the Department of Sports at UTech, was happy with the level of participation going into the meet, citing that everything was in place and that organisers were simply waiting on the start of the meet.
"We are pretty much ready at this point, it's just a case of waiting on the time to execute. Everything is in place and we are expecting a very good meet tomorrow (today)," said Davis.
Powell to run the 200m
Former 100m world record holder and Commonwealth champion, Asafa Powell (MVP), will run in the 200m, while World and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser, and World and Olympic 400m silver medal winner Shericka Williams are both expected to participate in the 200m.
Clubmate Melaine Walker, who claimed gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the World Championships in Athletics a year later, is down to participate in the flat 400m, with sprint hurdler Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Beijing Olympics 100m silver medallist Sherone Simpson down to compete in the 100m.
The 100m for men will feature Olympic sprint relay gold medallists Nesta Carter and Michael Frater, along with Trinidzadian Darrel Brown.
Despite Bolt's absence, Racers will be well represented by the likes of young sprinting sensation Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson, Jermaine Gonzales and Antiguan Daniel Bailey.
"All the local athletes from the MVP and Racers camps, except Usain (Bolt), have been confirmed and are all looking forward to compete so we are anticipating a great matchup between the clubs," Davis pointed out.
A batch of US-based collegiate athletes will also be adding to the competition. The last set was scheduled to arrive in the island midday yesterday.
More than 35 events, including four in the field, will be contested today with the first one scheduled to start after the 4 p.m. opening ceremony.
Tickets for the grandstand will cost patrons $500, while admission to the bleachers section will cost $100.
The ticket office, which is located across the road from the National Stadium, will be opened at 10 a.m. and Davis is hoping that athletics enthusiasts will make the most of the prices and support the meet.
"There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm and we have been getting a lot of calls. We are looking to get somewhere in the region of 3,000 fans in the grandstand and another 5,000 in the bleachers," said Davis. "If we realise these numbers we would consider it a successful meet because Jamaica is essentially a high school-oriented country when it comes to track and field."