Athletics

GraceKennedy signs 3-year deal with Youngster Goldsmith

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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The Youngster Goldsmith National Athletic Classics received a massive boost on Monday when it was announced that GraceKennedy had come on board in a massive way to provide sponsorship for the event for the next three years.

Pen was put to paper at the press launch for the event on Monday in the hospitality room at the National Stadium where principal of Kingston College, Dave Myrie, channel programmes and promotions manager at Grace Foods, Ricardo Smith, and David Reid, business development manager at Grace Foods all signed on the dotted line. GraceKennedy has come on board as co-title sponsors, and as such the meet will be renamed the Grace/PUMA Youngster Goldsmith National Athletic Classics.

The 21st staging of the meet will take place on Saturday at the National Stadium starting at 8:00 am with the 400m hurdles for clubs and institutions men and will finish with the 100m for boys and girls in all classes.

The meet, which is a qualifier for the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in March, also offers the rarely contested pole vault and steeplechase events which affords the athletes the opportunity to qualify for these events ahead of time.

Ricardo Smith, who spoke on behalf of Grace Foods, underlined the importance of the partnership and the role played by these types of development meets ahead of 'Champs'.

“Grace Foods, and its sister companies Western Union and World Brands Services is pleased to partner with the Youngster Goldsmith National Athletic Classics as co-title sponsor. This meet has been an important calendar event... to the sporting landscape in Jamaica, where the athletes can qualify for the upcoming championships.”

It was also announced that there would be a Grace Foods “Drink-and-win” competition in which three schools, one from each county, can win a share of over $1 million in cash and prizes and products. Each school must send in one entry video which will be shortlisted by region and published on the Grace social media sites. The school with the most likes will win the main prize.

Andrew Brown of communication sponsors Digicel charged the adults to help the children with their progress and not make unreasonable demands of them.

“Events like these help us with our commitment to take our athletes from grass roots to greatness. This partnership is an investment in their future and provides a key proving ground towards making their dreams come true, because we know the athletes are not made overnight.

“We must push them to do their best while remembering that they are still children. We must build them without breaking them so that we can continue to watch them succeed for years to come.”

Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, challenged the athletes in the audience (all Kingston College sixth formers) to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

“You must use this opportunity not simply as an event that is a physical expression of your progress, but you must use this event as part and parcel of your development as young gentlemen and aspiring ambassadors of Jamaica in the field of sport.

“You are the inheritors of tomorrow; you are the inheritors of the good work and good deeds of those who are before you, who are transferring their knowledge for your benefit so as to create opportunities for you to develop and to be excellent in the field of endeavour.”

He also suggested that even though they were still young, being a part of the 2020 Olympic experience was not beyond them.

“I greet you as the Jamaica president of an Olympic movement to which you aspire, Tokyo is 2020 and France is 2024. Tokyo is arguably your games, 2024 some of you might be classified as old men and there will be 18 year olds and 19 year olds who are on the cusp of excellence. So even though you may feel that Tokyo is a bit premature, that must be your goal because [in] 2024 there will be other aspirants who are equally as aggressive as you are in terms of you personal ambitions and wish to transition to the international stage.

“You have an opportunity, athletes generally have an opportunity in this meet. you must use this as a context of development, you must ensure that you learn humbly from your success and seek lessons in disappointments, not failures, disappointments,” Samuda said.

“Your motto: The Brave May Fall But Never Yield — in your motto is a philosophy that should drive you to excellence, in your motto are virtues and valour to which you subscribe, in your motto are principles that are non-negotiable... you have a start, but the race is yours to own. Take proprietorship of it and ensure that at the end of the day that you can extol the benefits of your benefactor and demonstrate that you are equal to the task,” he concluded.

Myrie said he was looking forward to good clean competition on Saturday.

“I look forward on Saturday to good competition, to clean competition that I hope will continue in all the meets leading up to Champs as well. [I hope] that everybody will go there and do what they need to do in a clean way to ensure that we have a championship everytime that we are all proud of. I am proud of Kingston College and what we do, and how we do it as well.

“As we look forward to this particular meet as a stepping stone, as we move towards the championships, it's going to be a very important one for us. Everybody wants to win; however, the manner in which we compete is very important to me — winning is never all there is to life. The way you compete, the way you deliver yourself, the way you conduct yourselves is going to be very critical and that is very important to me, everytime as well,” Myrie remarked.

The meet is the only one that offers both the 400m hurdles and sprint hurdles, with a preliminary round for the sprint hurdles in the morning and the finals in the afternoon. The 400m will be run immediately after the heats of the sprint hurdles.

All the field events, including the triple jump and the javelin, will be held inside the stadium, except the long jump which will take place at Stadium East Field. The shot put will not be on offer in the field and the 1500m is the only middle distance event to be contested.

— Dwayne Richards

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