THE Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association's (ISSA) Boys' and Girls 'Championships got a welcomed boost when GraceKennedy announced an extension of their title sponsorship for another six years until 2018.
In 2009, GraceKennedy inked a three-year deal worth $75 million, and Don Wehby, CEO of GraceKennedy, though he did not give any financial specifics as to the contract, proudly announced the extension.
"I am proud to announce that we have reached an agreement with ISSA that will see us sponsoring Champs for the next six years. I want to thank ISSA for allowing GraceKennedy the opportunity to work with you and sponsor this great event," said Wehby.
"GraceKennedy is extremely happy to be here this evening, as this is our seventh year as title sponsor of what I would say is the greatest show not only in Jamaica, but I would stretch it and say on Earth," he added.
Wehby, who actually won the Class Three 110 hurdles while at St George's College, said this represents a significant investment for GraceKennedy and by far their single largest sponsorship of any event.
"What is good for Jamaica is good for GraceKennedy. I don't see it as an expense for the company, but investment in our young people," Wehby stated.
Meanwhile, the 2013 staging of the prestigious championships will take place between March 12-15 with a couple of new associate sponsors coming on board.
Pepsi, through its brand Gatorade, is now the official hydration sponsor, while 361 Degrees is the shoe and apparel sponsor.
Gustavo Flamenco, Pepsi-Cola Jamaica's commercial director, said Champs is instrumental in changing the landscape of athletics in the country.
"It has unearth some of the biggest names since its first staging in 1912. Pepsi-Cola Jamaica is committed to sports and continues to contribute to nation building," said Flamenco, who is from Guatemala.
Meanwhile, Jamaica Observer broke the story last October that 361 Degrees inked the deal and it was officially announced at the launch on Tuesday night by local representative, Ajani Williams, who said they have long admired and wanting to partner with Jamaican track and field in many segments.
"361 Degrees has acquired the rights of six elite athletes and have recently, after many years of patiently waiting, acquired the rights to become the official shoe and apparel sponsor of this year's Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championship," said Williams, who is also president of the Jamaica Basketball Association.
LIME once again will be the official telecoms sponsor and Carlo Redwood, vice-president of marketing, noted that Champs is a serious and world-class event.
"It gives young talented athletes an opportunity to compete in an arena to showcase their ability to the world," said Redwood.
ISSA will also honour five stalwarts in Olympian Maurice Wignall, Nicole Mitchell, track official Ian Forbes, and coaches Maurice Wilson and Donald Hawthorne.