The Government, through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), has committed US$200,000 towards the second staging of the JN Racers Grand Prix set for June 10 at the National Stadium.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, made the disclosure at the press launch of the meet on March 17 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
Dubbed ‘Salute to a Legend,’ the meet will be used to celebrate the achievements of sprint sensation, Usain Bolt, who has indicated that he will be retiring from competition this year.
Ms. Grange said it is only fitting that the highly anticipated event will be a salute to track and field’s biggest superstar.
She said Bolt, who has become the face of athletics, represents tremendous talent, hard work and knows how to have fun.
“Each time Usain Bolt steps on the track we expect great things and he has been delivering consistently. Usain has made excellence a way of life and he makes it look like a whole lot of fun. But we now know from watching ‘I am Bolt’, the real cost of (his) excellence and the sacrifices that he has had to make to perform at the highest level,” she pointed out.
Bolt’s athletic prowess and remarkable world record breaking performances in both the 100 and 200-metre sprints have left the world in awe.
President of Racers Track Club, Glen Mills, said the event will provide an opportunity for the nation to show its love and appreciation to Bolt for 15 years of glory, pride and joy.
He informed that top local and international athletes have been confirmed for the highly anticipated event. He said discussions are ongoing with several other athletes and an announcement will be made in early May.
Some of the athletes confirmed are world record holder in the 800m, David Rudisha; 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk; Olympic champion in the5000 metres and 10000 metres, Mohamed Muktar Jama ‘Mo’ Farah; World Champion, 100m hurdlers, Danielle Williams; Olympian Torie Borie; and Olympic triple jump champion, Christian Taylor.
Also slated to complete are World Champion, Yohan Blake; Olympic and World Championship medallists, Asafa Powell, Warren Weir and Blessing Okagbare; World Championship medallist, Kaliese Spencer; and Commonwealth champion, Kemar Bailey Cole.
In his remarks, Bolt thanked his coach Glen Mills for all the confidence he has instilled in him throughout his career, his parents, management team and close friends.
“It has not been an easy road…It has been a rough couple of years and I have really pushed hard to get to the level that I am with the support of a lot of people,” he said.
Bolt said he was looking forward to the meet and urged all Jamaicans to come out and celebrate with him.
“It will be my last competition on home soil, which I am excited about and I think I might shed a tear. I’m not really an emotional person but I know it will be an emotional day to compete in front of my home fans for the final time and to compete in the stadium where it all began for me,” he said.
The meet, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., will feature 21 events. These include 17 international events – women’s 100m, 200m, 400m, 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles, triple jump and high jump; and for men – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 3000m, 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles, triple jump and shot-put. There will also be four development races – 100m and 400m for men and women.