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UTech launches Scientific Conference, Track and Field Classic

Friday, April 05, 2013

THE Faculty of Science and Sport (FOSS) at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), yesterday launched the University's two premier sporting events for 2013 — the third annual Caribbean Conference on Sport Sciences to be held on Friday, April 12 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, and the sixth annual Track and Field Classic to be held at the National Stadium on Saturday, April 13.

Details of the upcoming sporting events were unveiled at a press conference at Lillian's restaurant, UTech Papine campus.

Dean of the Faculty of Science and Sport Dr Colin Gyles told the gathering of members of the sporting fraternity, sponsors, UTech administrators, and media that both events will be "bigger and better" than in previous years. Emphasising that there can be no development in sport without the benefit of research and scientific rigour, Dr Gyles said that, "we are broadening the scope of the Caribbean Conference on Sport Sciences which was in previous years billed as a coach's conference. The conference has been specially designed to provide a forum for all support personnel who contribute to making sports successful, including coaches, nutritionists, sport medicine doctors, physical education teachers, sports psychologists, athletes, and all other sport professionals and enthusiasts".

The conference, which serves as an appropriate precursor to the Track and Field Classic, is being held under the theme, 'Exploring Sport Sciences, Improving Performance'.

Among the distinguished speakers is Dr Martin Gibala, world renowned sport physiologist and chair of McMaster University Department of Kinesiology, who has conducted extensive research on the effects of high- intensity interval training.

He will share one of his many published research findings in this field. Also confirmed to address the conference is Jason Henzell of Treasure Beach and Jakes Hotel fame in St Elizabeth, who will expound on strategies for a successful sports tourism product.

Herman Frazier, a medal-winning Olympian, who is currently deputy athletic director at Syracuse University, will act as patron for the Track and Field Classic and is also among the distinguished conference speakers.

Other conference speakers are Olympian and chiropractor Neil Gardener, Education Officer Dr Joyce Graham Royal, Sport Psychologist Olivia Rose, and Sport Marketer Sam McCook.

Patron of the conference is Dr Neville Graham, former head, Caribbean School of Sport Sciences, who will be honoured for his role in the establishment of the school at UTech.

The normal registration period will close on Friday, April 5 with a registration fee of $2,500. On-site registration on the day of the conference will cost $3,500.

This year's Track and Field Classic will held the entire day (from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm) unlike the customary four hours in previous years. Dr Gyles noted that the intent is to fill the entire stadium for a full day of competition that will allow the best of prep, high schools, intercollegiate, track and field clubs, and professional local and international athletes to showcase their talent.

Dr Gyles noted that athletes from eight clubs and 18 high schools, along with athletes from the Caribbean, North and South America are confirmed to compete at the Classic.

In addition, paralympic athletes from the Caribbean, Latin America and South America and Asia will also compete. Thirty athletes from the University of Albany, USA, have confirmed their participation. The 2013 UTech Track and Field Classic has been certified by the International Paralympic Association as an official qualifying event for the Caribbean and Latin America.

Director of Sport Laurence Garriques disclosed that cash prizes will be awarded to winners of the main events in the first, second and third rankings, as well as to top- performing high schools and clubs who will receive cash incentives of between $150,000 and $50,000 to assist with preparation and travel to the upcoming Penn Relays.

Member of Parliament for the constituency of East St Andrew Anthony Hylton, who was in attendance, lauded UTech for the staging of the two signature events, noting that he was committed to sending 10 coaches from the constituency to benefit from participation in the conference. The MP also emphasised the need for Jamaica to "zoom into the science of the business of sports so that we can begin to make money from our rich resource".

The Track and Field classic was endorsed by Garth Gayle, honorary secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Association (JAAA), who represented President, Dr Warren Blake. The event was also endorsed by athletes present, including Olympian Hansel Parchment, who won the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympics, and UTech student athlete Carrie Russell, who both expressed their enthusiasm in competing at the annual UTech Track and Field Classic.

Tickets will go on sale next week. The cost for the finish line area is $1,500; general grandstand is $1,000, and $300 for seats in the bleachers area.

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