Retired sprint legend says sports deserve greater support from Government
Jamaica's retired sprint legend Usain Bolt (right) greets American track star Noah Lyles during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

RETIRED sprint legend Usain Bolt is calling on the Jamaican Government and other stakeholders to do more to support the staging of sporting events across the country.

Bolt told the Jamaica Observer that sports play a very significant part in Jamaica's culture, but he said there has to be greater investment to fuel development.

"I might be biased but sports in Jamaica need to be bigger and [better] supported — and that is a fact," the Jamaican said during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday.

"The fact that we are having the Racers Grand Prix again is great, because one thing that we have learnt about sports is that the more sports that are happening is the better it is for the country," said the global track and field icon.

South African Wayde Van Niekerk (left) celebrates winning the men's 400m final as Jamaican Rusheen McDonald (centre) trails in his wake during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"It is a joy and it makes people happy, and they will come out and they will support it. It is all about the support from the Government and the federations to continue to help to push sports forward in this country," Bolt stated.

Bolt, the world record holder in the 100 metres and 200 metres with times of 9.58 seconds and 19.19, respectively, was once coached by Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club. Mills is the founder of the Racers Grand Prix meet.

Bolt, who retired from the sport in 2017, pointed out that he was very happy with the spectator turnout at the Racers Grand Prix, despite the heavy rains which delayed the start of the event for more than half an hour.

"I always want to see more people come and support these types of events. I am very surprised to see that so many people came out because it has been raining so that fact that people came out, I must say thanks for the support," he said.

Jamaican Tyler Mason (right) finishes ahead of compatriot Orlando Bennett in the men's 110m hurdles during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist said he is very happy to see that a number of Jamaican male sprinters are coming to the fore, with the likes of Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake running sub-10 times this season.

Blake, who is both coached by Gregory Little and Michael Frater at Titans Track Club, is the third-fastest man in the world this year with a time of 9.89. Seville, who is conditioned by Glen Mills at Racers Track Club, is the tenth-fastest man in 2023 with a time of 9.95.

"They just need to maintain their focus... I am happy to see that Blake and Oblique are doing well because the young men were on the decline, but now you can see that one by one they are stepping up and so I am happy to see that," Bolt said.

Nigerian Tobi Amusan (right) celebrates as she wins the women's 100m hurdles final ahead of American Tia Jones during the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)
Racers Grand Prix
BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter

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