Champs stars for USA meet
Several of the Jamaica's top junior athletes who shone at the just concluded ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs) at the National Stadium will once again highlight the East Coast International Showcase track and field meet in Landover, Maryland, United States of America.
The athletes will participate in individual and relay events on May 6, a week after the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
Brainchild, former Jamaica Olympian, Sanjay Ayre, who was involved in several of the island's 4x400 metres relay success, is anticipating a very high turnout from the Jamaican high schools, who are expected to clash with their counterparts from the North America.
"We created this meet concept as an avenue to promote international high school track and field. With athletes from all over the world, we wanted to provide an added opportunity for them to compete on an international stage," said Ayre.
He also stated that plans are under way to expand the offerings, to include college readiness workshops for the Jamaican athletes during the weeklong visit.
Ayre, who joined up with another former Jamaica Olympian Juliet Campbell to form the company, 2 Eagle Sports and Entertainment, responsible for the staging of the meet, added that Puma is on board.
"The meet has gotten a two-year contract extension with Puma as title sponsors. This partnership with Puma underscores the company's support for high school track and field in Jamaica. We have now taken it to another step to have the Puma brand visible for high school athletes in the United States," said Ayre.
Last year, 65 high schools including more than 500 athletes were involved in the meet and Ayre has stated that he has already received confirmation from some of the top performers at the Champs.
These include Hydel's duo of Alana Reid and Oneika McAnnuff, Holmwood Technical's Rickiann Russell and Jamaica College's Malique Smith Band, who all competed in Class One for their respective schools.
Reid was the Champs' 100 and 200 metres girls' double winner, with McAnnuff collecting the gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles and the silver in the 400 metres, which was won by Russell. Smith Band won the 200 metres.