The second staging of the JN Racer's Grand Prix was held Saturday, June 10, at the National Stadium in Kingston. The event promised to be exciting and it delivered because not only were world class athletes performing but Usain Bolt ran his last race on Jamaican soil. Here are my five takeaways from the event:
We are lucky to live in the era of Usain Bolt
I'm sure you have heard it over and over again that Usain Bolt is a legend but I don't think we fully grasp just how legendary he is. Bolt started heating up the tracks from Champs and has consistently been improving until he became the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen. Bolt's accolades are unmatched. He is irremovable from any book or conversation about track and field for the next several generations and guess what? We saw all of this unfold before our very eyes. As a country we supported him and in unison sat nervously as he sat in his starting blocks. As a country we jumped up in excitement by the sound of the gun and screamed and hit pot covers until the race ended. As a country we celebrated with him and watched the whole world fall in love with him. Watching his last race on home soil is the end of an era that we were lucky to have witnessed.
Jamaica is well respected in track and field
This isn't a new revelation of course but it's worth mentioning. We managed to attract international greats such as Allyson Felix, Mo Farah, Wayde van Niekerk among others. They were more than happy to come to our track meet, perform and pay their respect to Usain Bolt.
We have amazing talents coming up
Even though the main man of the night was Usain Bolt, as a track fan, I couldn't help but notice the young Jamaican talents running on the track. A great example would be Jaheel Hyde, a Jamaican favourite from his days at Champs, running 48.82 to come second. I was pleased to see others like Junelle Bromfield and Jevaughn Minzie looking to join the greats of the sport. Even though this is the end of an era, Jamaican track and field is in good hands.
Yohan Blake is back
Blake has been plagued by injuries over the years but we've seen him make a deliberate effort to return to form. Blake's hard work is paying off as he clocked a sub 10 time of 9.97 which is his second sub 10 time this season. I'm really glad to see him excelling again.
There is no greater place to watch track and field than the sprint capital of the world
As long as there is a track event especially ones with great athletes, the stadium is rammed. Jamaicans came out in their numbers and cheered for every race and pretty much every athlete. The stadium wasn't short of 'vybz' as the Mexican wave seemed to be started every half an hour and vuvuzelas blew relentlessly. In between the races the DJs kept the patrons entertained with crowd pleasers. I'm pretty sure Jamaica is the best place in the world to watch track and field.