WOMEN'S football and rugby will be added to the list of sporting events contested at the 2012 University of the West Indies (UWI)/University of Technology (UTech) Sports Championships on September 15.
The one-day showpiece, which will be hosted at the UWI, Mona campus, is into its third staging and is expected to see approximately 300 student athletes competing in cricket, men's football, netball, basketball, volleyball, rugby, and women's football.
Chairman of the organising committee Rashid Hall explained that the expansion in the number of sporting disciplines is reflective of the growth of the championships and the need to expose more university talent.
"We wanted to give those two sports more exposure. We wanted to expose these sports to a wide range of support systems so they can have a big fan base. Both rugby players and female footballers get the opportunity to show their skills and talent in front of a large crowd," he said at yesterday's launch at the Annex Building, UWI campus.
The UWI Pelicans are the reigning champions after defeating the UTech Knights in netball, volleyball, basketball and in football -- via a penalty shoot-out -- in the 2011 edition. UTech's lone victory came in the 20/20 cricket match.
Christopher Cooke, consumer marketing executive for major sponsors Lucozade sports drink, said his company was convinced to join with UTech and UWI after recognising the interest shown by both institutions.
"When Mr Hall first came to me with the idea I was a bit sceptical, but when I spoke to UWI students and I went over to UTech and there was a big excitement we just had to be on board. Lucozade is all about helping Jamaican athletes to enhance performance and what better way to partner with the inter-collegiate family," he said.
Ensure nutritional drink, distributed by Cari-Med Limited, has remained a sponsor for a third consecutive year.
Senior Brand Manager Allison Dexter was openly elated at the opportunity to continue the partnership and highlighted the importance of sports in nation building.
"Being on board for the third year is excellent for us. We were there from the start and it was an excellent idea. We have seen the idea grow from strength to strength and we are pleased. We see that sport is one of the big things that continue to pull us together as a nation. We saw it at the (London) Olympics and there is nothing better than to partner with UTech and UWI on the sporting arena," she said.
Also in attendance at the launch were UWI's principal, Professor Gordon Shirley, UWI Guild President, Daniel Wilson, Director of Sports at UTech Laurence Garriques and First Vice-President of the UTech Students' Union Greaville Smith.