Racers promises global Grand Prix viewership

Racers promises global Grand Prix viewership

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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The inaugural Racers Grand Prix will be broadcast to over 100 million homes across the world, revealed Glen Mills, the chairman of the organising committee.

"We have some very powerful line-ups for you and we have not only looked at developing here in Jamaica, but to share it with the world and to further enhance Jamaica’s image in the sports world," said Mills at a press conference yesterday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

"We are partnering with ESPN Play to get into over 100 million homes and we are also partnering with EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and EuroSports in Europe to break the meet to several countries across the world," he noted.

"So not just the 35,000 that will be at the stadium and the 2.8 million watching it live on tv. It will be showcased across the world and I am sure it will provide great added value to Jamaica’s sports tourism. We are hoping, going forward, in future years it will get even bigger," said Mills.

The historic Racers Grand Prix is set for Saturday June 11 at the National Stadium and will have 15 track and field events on the card. It is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm with an opening ceremony, in which entertainer Chris Martin will perform.

The meet should be concluded by 9:20 pm with the running of the highly anticipated men’s 100-metre event involving Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell; Yohan Blake, Kemar Bailey-Cole, and Askani Simbine of South Africa, who is the fourth-fastest man in the world this year with 9.96 seconds.

The normally conservative Mills predicts that fans will be in for a treat and can expect some fast times on the track.

"We have lined up some marquee events. The 100m men and women are our featured events. The fastest man (Usain Bolt) alive and probably will be for a long time, will be on show and he will be up against the second fastest man alive (Yohan Blake) and who wants to change that statue in due course," said Mills, who coaches both athletes.

"We have the most decorated sub-10 100m runner Asafa Powell, all three will line up to compete in the 100m, and judging from what has been happening with them all rounding into top shape leading up to the trials, I expect that it is going to be a very fast race. It will be thrilling and exciting," he reiterated.

"On the women’s side, the most decorated female sprinter of all time, the great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be competing at the meet and will be competing against the World Indoor champion Barbara Pierre and Carmelita Jeter, Remona Burchell — a young Jamaican who did very well on the collegiate circuit — and Natasha Morrison," Mills noted.

Olympic 200m bronze medallist, Warren Weir will lead Jamaica’s charges in the 200m and will match strides with Alonso Edwards of Panama, Americans Wallace Spearman and Terrell Cotton, Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, Jamaica’s Commonwealth Games champion Rasheed Dwyer, and the emerging Miguel Francis of Antigua.

The women’s 200m will feature Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, Americans Tori Bowie, Jeneba Tarmoh, Alexandria Anderson, and confirmation of two Jamaicans.

— Howard Walker

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