Gov’t ploughs $18m into Racers Grand Prix

Gov’t ploughs $18m into Racers Grand Prix

By Howard Walker Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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The Jamaican Government, through the State-run Sports Development Fund (SDF), has committed US$150,000 ($18.8m) to the inaugural Racers Grand Prix set for June 11.


Olivia "Babsy" Grange, the minister of sports, made the announcement at her office on Trafalgar Road yesterday.


The historic Racers Grand Prix, organised by the Glen Mills-led Racers Track Club, the home of the incomparable Usain Bolt, has a budget in excess of $100 million.


"It may not be enough to cover everything for the Racers Grand Prix, but are we certainly going to provide a significant amount," said the minister as she met with stakeholders of the event.


"It’s US$150,000," she later revealed.


"What this means for Jamaica is that we have proved to the world that we are at centre stage as a small nation in track and field, and the fact that we can host a meet of this magnitude with such internationally renowned athletes," Grange explained.


"It really speaks volume to how much we are respected and to how much we are seen as the force to be reckoned with, the fact we have been able to host two international meets, both recognised by the IAAF and both will be of the same high quality," she pointed out.


The Racers Grand Prix will see over 100 athletes from 10 countries participate, with a mouth-watering clash involving three of the fastest men in history — Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell.


Meanwhile, double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will clash with her great American rival Carmelita Jeter and the freshly minted World Indoor 60m champion Barbara Pierre.


The meet, scheduled for just under four hours, will see 15 events, including a rare 300m race for the men.


"It’s not just a one-off event, it’s an annual meet and I know it will grow from strength to strength. It’s really not something that one should take for granted, it’s something that we should really appreciate and understand that Jamaica has taken on the world in track and field and now commanded the respect in track and field," Grange reiterated.


Coaching guru Glen Mills, the head honcho of the Racers Track Club and chairman of the organising committee, thanked the Government for the contribution.


"I would like to express our gratitude on behalf of the Racers Track Club for the support that the minister has just outlined. We want to thank the minister and the Government of Jamaica for their contribution to the further development of sports," said Mills.


"The fact that we as a country can get two meets of this quality approved by the IAAF speaks volume of where we stand in the world of track and field, and sports in general, and not many countries have this distinction to take on meets of this magnitude successfully — it’s really a testimony to our greatness," Mills added.


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