Digicel on the mark with Racers Grand Prix

Digicel on the mark with Racers Grand Prix

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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With Racers Track Club known as the "Capital of Excellence" and Digicel being a telecommunications giant, it is only fitting that these two major organisations join forces to achieve a mutual objective.

The telecommunications firm yesterday duly obliged by handing over a symbolic cheque of USD$110,000 ($13, 728,000), as they entered the blocks for the inaugural staging of the Jamaica National (JN) Racers Grand Prix.

The meet, is scheduled for June 11 at the National Stadium. It is anticipated to be a never-to-be-forgotten festival of speed and is aligned with the club’s vision to become the world’s number one.

Kamal Powell, senior sponsorship and development manager at Digicel, expressed pleasure for being affiliated with the meet and by extension Racers Track Club.

"We have always been an investment house behind sporting development in Jamaica, and we are very proud to be a part of this initiative. We believe that with the world-class talent that will be coming to Jamaica this year, we are definitely going to be making a strong mark on the rest of the world," he told the Jamaica Observer at a special press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus yesterday.

"This is going to be the biggest meet for a lot of these athletes before they get to the Olympics, and, of course, we can definitely see what is going to happen as it promises to be an epic experience," Powell added.

With the Grand Prix embracing a plan to pass on the legacy of world and Olympic champions Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, among others, to the next generation of athletes, Powell believes it was apt for his firm to provide the financial backing.

The club requires a substantial amount of funds to achieve a comprehensive development plan for the next five years. Their 20-point macro budget includes items for staffing, athletic recruitment, academic education, and medical.

"Racers Track Club is the home of Usain Bolt and a lot of our Jamaican male sprint sensations, and as our motto ‘driving grassroots to greatness’ relating to sporting development in Jamaica suggests, we want to be able to build younger athletes," declared Powell.

"This track club has taken on a lot of young athletes, so in doing our part we want to ensure that they have enough equipment and training rooms, among others, so that they can take on more young people. So in sight of trying to invest behind more young people, why not invest into this platform?" he asked.

In addition to the his company’s substantial contribution, Powell outlined they will also be engaging on-the-ground innovations and activities with patrons.

"We are the home of entertainment and communication, so we will definitely be bringing the best of entertainment to Jamaica and the world, because it will be streamed across numerous countries. We will also have great handsets and consumer giveaways while at the stadium," he noted.

The explosive male and female 100m will be the feature events of the Grand Prix and are expected to spark fireworks. The male event will include the world’s fastest men in Bolt and Blake, as well as the sub-10 sprinter and former world record holder, Asafa Powell.

World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will face off against the American pair of Barbara Pierre and Carmelita Jeter in the women’s event, which will also include the promising Natasha Morrison and Remona Burchell.

"I am definitely looking forward to these events I think they both will definitely be taking off and I am excited to see who will walk away with the respective categories. I believe our own Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will win, but I think it is going to be very competitive and we are looking forward to seeing a huge turnout at the National Stadium," reasoned Powell.

Finally, having been a partner with the Jamaica Olympic Association over the years, Digicel will also be partnering with the Jamaica Observer for comprehensive coverage of the Olympics Games in Rio in August.

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