A ‘GRAND’ APPEAL
With the fast-approaching Racers Grand Prix signalling a return of international senior athletics to Jamaica’s shores, organiser of the one-day track and field spectacle, Glen Mills is appealing for support, which he underlines will go a long way in determining the future of the event.
Tickets for the meet went on sale yesterday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel and online at www.racersgrandprix.com with a seat in the bleachers costing $1,000; grandstand – $3,000 and the finish line area attracting a $5,000 cost.
“Tickets are now on sale and we are hoping for a large turnout. In fact, we’re hoping that we will have a full grandstand and at least 15,000 persons in the bleachers. It is important that we get strong support from the Jamaican sporting public because it weighs heavily on our ability to put on meets of this nature and considering our position in the world as one of the top-three nations in track and field, we certainly need to show up for meets of this level in our country,” Mills said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
“We know the Jamaican public loves track and field and I’m appealing that they give us the strongest support. We have made the ticket prices as low as possible for a meet of this nature. It would certainly cost a lot more at the international level because when you look at the quality stars that we have; some of the leading world performers in the sport today. We also have tremendous support from our local and international Jamaican athletes,” Mills said.
Former World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion Dalilah Muhammad from the United States has been added to the already impressive line-up of global stars, set to descend on the National Stadium on June 3, with Jamaican sprinting sensation Shericka Jackson, American speedster Noah Lyles and Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, the 100m hurdles world record holder, heading the list.
“[Dalilah] Muhammad is an outstanding 400 metres hurdler. In fact, she was the former world record holder. She has a tremendous history of performing at the highest level and we welcome her to the Racers Grand Prix. She will certainly add to the glittering array of stars that are already lined up to perform at this year’s Grand Prix,” said Mills.
Former Olympic and World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, the world record holder in the event, as well as Olympic 100m hurdles bronze medallist Megan Tapper, Olympic 110 hurdles champion Hansle Parchment, World Championships silver medal-winning triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts, ever-improving sprinter and World Athletics Championships 100m finalist Oblique Seville and British sprinter Zharnel Hughes are also confirmed for the meet.
It is understood that hotshot American Sha’Carri Richardson has expressed, through her management team, a desire to compete at the meet; however, no confirmation has so far been received.
“The committee has gone to great lengths to put together a magnificent package and every event is well supported with outstanding athletes, and they will be very competitive … So there’s no shortage of high-quality competition and Racers Grand Prix has a tremendous reputation of putting on a meet of the highest quality with great organisation, great technical presentation and our athletes are given the best opportunity to perform at the highest level and this year is no different,” Mills shared.
Result management company World Class Athletics has been contracted to deliver timing and measurement services for the meet using top-quality technology and presentation.
Mills, who is also the founder and head coach at the Racers Track Club, shared that organisers are facing a 30 per cent shortfall on the budget for the meet and are hoping that other sponsors will come on board.
“We are still appealing to corporate Jamaica to come on board even at this stage in whatever way to help to support us to put on the meet. The gate receipts could go a far way in helping to bridge that gap, but we are still seeking sponsorship and we are appealing to the corporate entities to help us to stage this tremendous meet,” said Mills.
Racers Grand Prix, now classified as a World Athletics Continental Tour event, is the only international senior meet on the Jamaican calendar following the inactivity of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet, which was last staged in 2018.