Intercol Champs set to deliver extraordinary experience
THE 53rd staging of the 2014 Intercollegiate Track & Field and Cheerleading Championships scheduled for the University of the West Indies Mona/Usain Bolt Track on April 4 and 5 is expected to showcase top athletes performing in several events.
The two-day meet, which has received a boost of $400,000 from its main sponsor Lucozade, was launched at the Usain Bolt Tracks and Records in Kingston, yesterday.
In track and field, the defending champions GC Foster College and University of Technology for the male and female divisions, respectively, will be aware that the title may go to the line yet again, as a strong challenge is expected from the UWI contingent, which is said to have strengthened its squad ahead of the season.
Among other intercollegiate institutions taking part to give strong competition are Mico University and Portmore Community College.
Top performances are expected from top athletes such as 400 metres specialist Rusheen McDonald, women's 400m and 400m hurdles runner Stephanie McPherson, 400m runner Anastasia Leroy, and Great Britian's sprinter Delano Williams.
Olympian Hansle Parchment and former World Junior and World Youth champion thrower Fredrick Dacres both representing UWI will also add immense quality to an already special list of names set to compete, and with the merger of the Cheerleading Championships, the festivities will take on a new look on day two as the intercollegiate cheer competition will take up as much attention as the major track events.
Meanwhile, Lucozade's brand manager Christopher Cook said that sponsoring this event was never in doubt.
"Sports is a big development in Jamaica as it is helping to build the youths and that is what we want to do. We want to try and use our brand, Lucozade, to fill that motto, and so it was easy for us to say yes to the Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association to come on board as main sponsor," Cook said.
Also speaking at the launch, Karelle Jones, president for the Jamaica Cheer Federation (JACF) said that cheerleading is a rising sport in Jamaica and that she was pleased to be a part of the event.
"Cheerleading has grown in Jamaica and I am amazed how team spirit can lift up the country. It is an honour to be at the games and I am very proud and pleased... we really want to support and to be a part and to endorse these games," Jones pointed out.
Rashid Hall, second vice-president for Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association, said that with the new crop of track and field athletes he believes that records will tumble at this year's event.
"Among the colleges across the country we have over 45 current and former national representatives and this speaks volumes to the level of talent that exits in the collegiate structure. Many of the collegiate records have been around for quite some time and I think the time is right, based on the level of competitiveness expected, for some of them to go.
"We expect a good showing from the athletes, many of whom will be seeking a spot on national teams later in the year and the opportunity to represent their institution, should give them that extra push to perform well at the championships," he explained.
Claudette Jones and former president of the JAAA, Pat Anderson, will be honoured at the championships.
Also attending the launch were Michael Fennell, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, and Gareth Gayle, general secretary for the JAAA.