Nail-biting finish at EU-JA 5K Run on Sunday
Winner of the men's section of the EU-JA 5K Run Garfield Gordon (right) crosses the finish line marginally ahead of second-placed Noel Ellis. Dwayne Graham (not pictured) was third.

In an exciting end to the European Union-Jamaica 5K race on Sunday, the male top performers provided a nail-biting finish.

Garfield Gordon, the winner, and Noel Ellis, second-place finisher, both crossed the line in 00:16:07, while Dwayne Graham placed third with a time of 00:16:17.

The women's run event saw Jozanne Harris finishing strong to claim first place in 00:20:00, after her recent win at the Sigma 5K. Michelle McNally placed second with a time of 00:22:00 and Pauline Murphy placed third in 00:23:00. Both male and female top-three winners in the EU-JA 5K were the same in the recent Sigma 5K, with the difference being Noel Ellis moving from third place in the Sigma race to place second in Sunday's EU-JA 5K.

Over 2,000 persons turned out for the race event, with the first 2,000 finishers receiving a special commemorative medal. Hosted by patron of the event, broadcaster and social media influencer Khadine "Miss Kitty" Hylton, scores of the participants remained for post-race entertainment, which featured dancehall sensation Romario "Laa Lee Ranks" Ricketts.

European Union Ambassador Marianne Van Steen (2nd left) joins winners of the women's section of the EU-JA 5K Run on Sunday. (From left) are second-placed Michelle McNally, victor Jozanne Harris, and Pauline Murphy, who finished third.

Among the Jamaican Government officials who participated in the race were Dr Horace Chang, deputy prime minister; Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade; Fayval Williams, minister of education and youth; Delroy Chuck, minister of justice; and Delroy Williams, mayor of Kingston.

Members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations also participated and included Olivier Guyonvarch, French ambassador; Jan Hendrik Van Thiel, German ambassador; Nick Perry, US ambassador; Juan José González Mijares, Mexican ambassador; Rungsang Masakui, Indian ambassador; Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Caribbean director; and Denise Antonio, UNDP resident representative.

Main sponsors were St Mary's, Mountain Peak, Recycling Partners, Cal's Manufacturing, King Alarm, Running Events Jamaica, Kingston Creative, TVJ, Radio Jamaica, HITZ, Jamaica Observer, The Best Dressed Chicken, and Catherine's Peak Spring Water.

The European Union Ambassador Marianne Van Steen said: "The inaugural staging of the EU-JA 5K event on Sunday was a resounding success and met our objectives. We were particularly pleased with the participation of the community groups and runners of all ages, which was a symbolic unification in our push against crime and violence."

Race Director Alfred "Frano" Francis said he was pleased with the turnout especially from community groups downtown Kingston, who were sponsored by the European Union.

The inaugural EU-JA 5K met its target of raising funds for a special literacy summer camp at Kingston High School. The summer camp will be organised by the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) and Creative Language-Based Learning, an educational non-profit.

The camp is part of the MOEY-led Inter-Ministerial 34 Schools' Strategy and the broader Citizen Security Plan of the Government of Jamaica, supported by the EU. The strategy was developed to strengthen services specifically in schools located within zones of special operations. These schools have identified literacy as a crucial issue to be addressed to improve academics, safety and security.

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