Grand finale!

G C Foster Classics to close 4th Digicel Grand Prix Championship series

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 10, 2018

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It is expected to be a feast of exciting performances at G C Foster Classics today, the final meet in the lucrative fourth staging of the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship series.

The National Stadium will be abuzz with excitement as the track and field season shifts into high gear with three-time winners Edwin Allen hunting a fourth-straight title on the girls' side, while St Jago seek to defend the boys' crown.

Action for the G C Foster Classics is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am, and should whet the appetite of track and field enthusiasts ahead of the Grand Prix finals which are scheduled to start at 5:20 pm.

The five-meet series which got under way with the Eastern Championships, followed by the Anthrick Corporate Area Development Meet, Western Championships, and the Central Championships, has already seen a number of athletes register record-breaking performances, and today's finale should be no different.

All the main contenders are expected to come out firing with heavy artillery of top athletes as they go in chase of the $1 million prize towards their sports programme and individual cash incentives that are on offer.

The second- and third-placed schools will be awarded $500,000 and $200,000, respectively.

Edwin Allen, the reigning Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Girls' champions, and St Jago, were a cut above the competition when retaining their titles in emphatic fashion last year, but with just a mere 1.5 points separating first and second place on the boys' side last year, things could get a bit more interesting this year.

The Michael Dyke-conditioned Edwin Allen High tallied 76 points ahead of Excelsior (54), Holmwood Technical (52), and Hydel High and St Jago, who both tallied 40 points apiece, and should again face stiff competition from those rivals.

Meanwhile, St Jago, who registered 84 points to Calabar's 82.5 points, will again be hard pressed by the defending ISSA boys' champions. Kingston College, Wolmer's Boys', Excelsior and St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), among others, are also expected to be there in the closing stages.

Athletes will contest the full slate of Grand Prix Championship events, which are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 4x400m, and medley relays, as well as long jump, high jump and discus for classes one and two athletes, to put their school in a position to capture the top prize.

Monique McLeod, marketing manager at Digicel, is confident that there will be an extraordinary end to the five-meet series, as athletes hit top stride ahead of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships which is a few weeks away.

“We have seen a number of stars on the rise at each meet and we have no doubt that tomorrow (today) is going to be simply amazing, so I am pretty excited about that. Quite a number of records have been broken and we anticipate that this meet is going to be even more spectacular. We have gotten great responses from not only the schools, but also from the sponsors and, more importantly, from the fans,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“So we are certainly excited to be on board with athletics because we believe in building our communities and our student-athletes and at the same time bringing entertainment to our customers.

“So we are happy that we can also offer cash prizes to assist in the development of those school programmes and to give the athletes a platform on which they can build as they look towards the future,” McLeod added.

Along with the excitement on the track, where the Under-20 boys' and girls' events should take the spotlight, McLeod pointed out that her company will also be entertaining patrons off the track.

Among the top events on the boys' side will be the 200m in which Calabar's Anthony Carpenter faces Tyreke Bryan of KC.

In the 400m, KC's fit Dashawn Morris and Calabar's standout Christopher Taylor will battle the likes of Malik Smith of Bridgeport and Anthony Cox of St Jago.

The 800m should also be a mouth-watering clash between Leon Clarke of St Jago, Kimar Farquharson of Calabar, Spot Valley's Tyrese Reid, and Jauavney James of STETHS.

“Patrons can expect a lot of entertainment both on and off the track; we love to party so they can definitely look forward to that.

“We know there are a number of serious rivalries amongst the schools and athletes themselves, and you know the hype is around KC and Calabar, so we can't wait to see who will take home the championship this year, and we wish all the participants the very best,” McLeod ended.

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