JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior and Junior Champs set for June 20-23

Thursday, May 30, 2019

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The Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior and Junior Championships will be staged between June 20 and 23 as the country looks ahead to global and regional events on the track and field calendar.

During yesterday's press launch at Knutsford Court Hotel, organisers said the championships will be divided into three main components: Under-18 male and female; Under-20 male and female; and senior male and female competitions.

Of major significance for senior athletes is team selection for the IAAF World Championships to be hosted from September 28 to October 6 in Qatar.

The national championships will also form the basis for selection for the NACAC Under-23 and Under-18 Championships from July 5-7 in Mexico; the Pan Am Under-20 Championships from July 19-21 in Costa Rica; and the Pan Am Games from August 6-11 in Peru.

Ludlow Watts, chairman of the organising committee, noted that 110m hurdles sensation Omar McLeod earns a bye as defending world champion, but that all others are required to compete. He said exceptions may be considered in the case of absence due to injury.

The semi-finals and finals of the blue riband 100m men and women events are scheduled for Friday's second evening of the championships. The opening ceremony is also to be held on Friday.

For admission to the grandstand the cost will be $500 on Thursday's opening day; $2500 on Friday; $2000 on Saturday and Sunday; and $5500 for season tickets. Bleachers' access from Friday to Sunday is $300 each day.

Denzil Thorpe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, while delivering the main address on behalf of Minister Olivia Grange, suggested these are intriguing times in the wake of retirement of legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in 2017.

“These championships have taken on greater significance since they are taking place in the face of rebuilding… these championships will give us a sense of where our track and field are in the immediate post Usain Bolt era.

“They will be a strong indicator of how our senior athletes and junior athletes will stand up. These championships will give us the opportunity to make the world realise that we are still here,” Thorpe said.

Gail Abrahams, vice-president of group marketing, communications and sponsorship at Supreme Ventures, spoke of the company's commitment to sport development in Jamaica, highlighted by its $7m investment in the 2019 staging of the National Championships.

“The Supreme Ventures Group has had a love affair with sports over the last 16 years. We have invested over $125m in track and field over the last 15 years through events such as the national senior and junior trials. We're proud to always be supportive of the JAAA on this venture. We commend, we congratulate the organisation on the tireless work they do,” she said.

Organisers said British Virgin Islands have confirmed they will send athletes to Jamaica's event because they do not have a national trial. They said fellow Caribbean neighbours Bermuda have expressed interest but up to yesterday were yet to confirm.

— Sanjay Myers


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