Digicel Grand Prix attracts 2 new events; 2018 season starts Feb 12
Regional Sponsorship Manager for Digicel, Andrew Brown.
The fourth staging of the annual Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, a five-series development meet for high schools, has attracted two new events to bring the total to 10.
This was revealed on Wednesday during the launch of the 2018 season at the Spanish Court hotel in New Kingston.
The two new Grand Prix events are the 400m hurdles and the medley relay, which will be added to the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and 4x400m.
Dubbed the “Diamond League of youth athletics”, the much-anticipated series of development meets will run from February 12 to March 10.
Speaking at the launch, Regional Sponsorship Manager for Digicel, Andrew Brown, said, “this year, we expect the competition to be fiercer than ever before, the athletes are better prepared and have been working even harder for the glory. We believe in well-rounded athletes and developing the complete competitor. In this way, we enable positive youth development as competitors learn the value of positive socialisation, teamwork, taking responsibility and earning trust."
Taking a holistic approach, Digicel starts by supporting young athletes through their formative years and continuing as they mature into the global superstars of tomorrow.
Bruce James, Technical Head of Sulrickson Althletico, first-time organisers of the event, has likened the Digicel Grand Prix to the Diamond League, based on its structure and qualifying system that rewards the best of the best from all over the island.
James explained, “to get to the Digicel Grand Prix finals you have to go through a series of meets…four championships get you to qualify. The four champions from each of those meets will qualify automatically to go to the Digicel Grand Prix final, as well as the next four best in each of the various events, this is a true Diamond League format.”
The Digicel Grand Prix series has attracted cash prizes.
One again, school teams (boys and girls) will vie for the title of Digicel Grand Prix Champion and $1 million each towards gym equipment or development of their school’s training facilities.
There will also be an overall second and third place cash prizes of $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.
Record-breaking athletes at the Grand Prix Final - the GC Foster Classics at the National Stadium on March 10 - will be rewarded with cash for their schools.
Digicel will pay $25,000 for each championship record and $50,000 for each national junior record.
In addition, Digicel will reward every athlete who qualifies to run at the Grand Prix with $5,000 each for their school.
There will also be cash prizes for the top three finishers (boys and girls) at each of the four regional meets. First place is guaranteed $250,000, with second getting $100,000 and third place, $50,000.
Coaches will also be rewarded with cash prizes between $20,000 to $50,000.
This year, with SportsMax as the media production partners for all five meets, event content will be even more accessible for the public through live broadcasts and via the Play Go app for track enthusiasts on the go.
The series will start with the Eastern Champs on February 12 and 13 at the National Stadium, and will be followed by the Anthrick Corporate Area Meet on February 16 at the National Stadium. The Grand Prix then goes to the other end of the island for the Western Champs on February 17 at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay and then moves to GC Foster College on February 21 for Central Champs.
The high-impact series of events will culminate in the finals at the GC Foster Classics at the National Stadium on March 10.
The 2018 Digicel Grand Prix Championship is also sponsored by Pepsi, BCIC, KFC, Malta, Grace, Pure National and Sportsmax