Sports

Racers Grand Prix here for long haul — Mills

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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Despite the absence of the iconic Usain Bolt from the track, conceptualiser and president of Racers Track Club Glen Mills is of the belief that the Racers Grand Prix is here for the long haul.

“I would never undersell the importance that Bolt played in getting it off the ground. His presence, one as great as he is, has provided the catalyst for our launch and for that we are grateful and consider ourselves fortunate to have the greatest athlete of all time compete at the meet in our inaugural staging,” Mills told the Jamaica Observer.

“Although his charm, charisma and performances will be missed, we have to continue the legacy as a great tribute to him if this meet grows to a colossal level and contributes to the continued development of track and field in the country,” he added.

“The meet was never about Bolt. The purpose of the meet is to provide competition for our young professional athletes, that second-tier athlete who is not able to command a Diamond League lane or a lane overseas,” Mills further explained.

The third staging of the Racers Grand Prix set for Saturday, June 9 inside the National Stadium is dubbed “Stars: the Next Generation”.

This year's renewal will feature six international events for men and seven for women, along with four Olympic Development races in a three-hour package, slated to start at 6:00 pm.

“So meets like these in the region are very important. It was also a developmental programme and provided some sort of earning with their training expenses. You get a little prize money because it is very expensive to develop a young professional. If you don't have a big contract it's a struggle. We pay prize money from 1 to 8 in every event,” Mills noted.

“The local coaches, managers — everybody gets a feel of what international meet is like. That's why we started Racers Grand Prix at such a high level, to get everybody at a high level to feel that kind of exposure that you have to travel abroad to get,” he reiterated.

Mills also hopes that one day, the Racers Track Club will be in a financial position to be able to assist other struggling clubs.

“There is also hope that in time, the meet will be able to earn sufficient income to assist the development of the club, and by extension we are in a position to help other developing clubs.

“We are hoping by the fifth year, we have enough support and [would have] grown to the level where we can say to a club somewhere in Mandeville or St Thomas, we are making a donation of US$10,000, a million dollars towards their equipment, and so on. That's the kind of vision we have for Racers Grand Prix,” said Mills.

“We have some of the greatest crowds in the world as said by everybody across the globe and they get a chance to be entertained at a senior level. Champs is a great entertainment, but we want to provide entertainment at the next level,” he argued.

Mills continued: “Judging from the support that we have got over the first two years, the level of which we were able to organise, we feel hearty that this will grow into something real big internationally and we are getting the recognition from NACAC. Our meet is a great source for regional development. We try to have a very good representation of the Caribbean, also.

“Nobody is going to do it for us, we will have to do it for ourselves and in that light we see the importance of Racers Grand Prix and we hope that we will continue to get the massive support from the spectators and the sponsors,” concluded Mills.


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