Digicel Grand Prix: Western Champs takes spotlight on Saturday
The 2018 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship gets into high gear on Saturday with the final day of Western Championships, the third regional meet of the series, at Montego Bay Sports Complex, beginning at 10:00 am.
After two days of action at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex on Tuesday and the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Thursday, defending girls' champions Rusea's High and Petersfield High are leading the team standings.
Rusea's High hold a 40-point lead in the girls' championship heading into Saturday's final day, while Petersfield High take a slim four-point lead among the boys.
Rusea's High have already tallied 178 points with St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS in second-place on 138; while Petersfield, , which are seeking their first title have secured 133 points with Munro College in second place on 129 points.
The Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship is a five-series development meet for high schools, which comprises four regional meets and a Grand Finale - the GC Foster Classics - at the National Stadium on March 10.
For this year, the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship has attracted two new events to bring the total to 10.
The two new Grand Prix events are the 400m hurdles and the medley relay, which have been added to the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and 4x400m.
Apart from the two new events, organisers have changed the process by which athletes qualify for the Grand Finale (the GC Foster Classics).
For the Grand Prix Series, athletes are placed in two age categories used by the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association. For the males (Class 1 athletes compete in one age category, while Class 2 and Class 3 athletes complete in the other age category) and for females (Class 1 and 2 compete in one age category and Class 3 and 4 in the other age category).
This means that only the fastest time in a Grand Prix event in each age category at each of the four regional meets automatically qualify for the Grand Finale. As a result, the four automatic winners in each of the 10 Digicel Grand Prix event from the four regional meets will be joined by the next four best to compete in the Grand Prix Finale.
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 Finale - 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 Finale 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.