International Track Meet Attracts Top Athletes


A cadre of top track and field stars are expected to visit the island for the Jamaica International Invitational meet which will be held on Friday, May 7 at the National Stadium.
Speaking at a press conference concerning the meet, Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller said Jamaica has had the distinction of producing some of the finest athletes the world has ever seen.
“As a people, we are fiercely passionate about our music, our politics and our sports,” she stated, pointing out that the 2002 World Junior Athletic Championships was the first international meet of such a high calibre to be held in Jamaica since the Norman Manley games over 20 years ago. The first staging of the Jamaica invitational games was held in 1997 to celebrate the return of the commemoration of emancipation.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said there was the added value of benefits to be derived from sports tourism when “our island in hosting an international event is projected across the world and encourages additional visitors to discover and enjoy our beautiful country which further contributes to economic growth and development”.
She described the upcoming meet as a golden opportunity to “provide the public with a chance to support our national representatives as they match strides with some of the best of the best here on our turf”.
The hosting of this premier event, she noted, came against the background of discussions held with Prime Minister Patterson during the junior athletics championships, with the president of the International Athletic Federation, Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation, Howard Aris and former Olympian and meet organizer, Donald Quarrie.
Mrs. Simpson Miller disclosed that the Prime Minister had given a mandate to explore the possibility of hosting this event, which would include among its benefits to Jamaica, an opportunity to contribute to the further development of track and field as well as the country’s tourism product.
General Manager of Independence Park complex, Michael Hall told journalists that the global budget being looked at for the meet was in the region of US$500,000. The event is being presented and organized by Independence Park Limited in partnership with Media Sports and Entertainment Group Limited.

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