Organisers of East Coast Int'l Showcase promise bigger, better meet

Organisers of this year's second staging of the East Coast International Showcase say they are looking to expand the championships to a number of the non-traditional high schools in Jamaica.

The highly anticipated championships, which is set for May 6, will be held at the Prince George Sports & Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland.

Juliet Campbell, one of the organisers of the meet, told the Jamaica Observer that last year's inaugural staging of the event was a success despite the adverse weather conditions in Maryland. She expects another super event..

"We are inviting the same schools that we invited last year for the inaugural staging of the championships, and we are hoping that the same turnout happens and we will have a much better meet [and] good weather," said Campbell.

"We had an enormous amount of entries last year but, unfortunately, the one thing that we could not control was the weather so things could not turn out as planned. But, we are hoping for better results and weather this year.

"My expectations are for the meet to be successful because this meet was started to facilitate those young athletes who would usually not get the opportunity to travel outside of Jamaica to an overseas meet. There is only a certain number of athletes that can make it to Penn Relays, Carifta and World Junior Championships, and so this meet is open to what you would call the non-traditional high schools and so everyone is invited," she said.

Kingston College, St Elizabeth Technical, Hydel girls, St Jago High's boys and girls, Edwin Allen boys and Excelsior High were the Jamaican schools that competed in the championships last year.

Campbell, who is the sports marketing manager of the meet's title sponsors Puma, shared that they will be adding a number of middle races to this year's meet. She also noted that all the schools' airfare and hotel expenses were fully paid by the organising committee of the championships last year.

"We are also looking to invite some of the athletes that run the middle distances because, as you know, they don't get a lot of exposure outside of Jamaica, and those are the things that we are looking forward to," Campbell pointed out.

"It [funding] will always be a part of the plans because we understand how difficult it is for the schools to get the funding for these kids," she said. "However, will it be in the same magnitude? We hope, but we do know that we will provide something, and right now we are looking for additional sponsors. Puma is still very much on board with us in putting this meet on," she added.

Robert Bailey

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