Digicel puts big bucks into Grand Prix Athletic Championships

first_imgTelecommunications company Digicel has almost doubled the sponsorship for this year’s Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championships from $8.5 million to $16 million in cash and prizes in this, the second year of the six-meet high school series.The Grand Prix, which gets under way on February 6 with the Western Championships at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay as well as the Youngster Goldsmith National Classic at the National Stadium in Kingston, was launched yesterday at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.The other meets in the series are the Corporate Area Development Meet on February 11 and the Camperdown Classic on February 13, both at the National Stadium; and the Central Championships on February 16 and the G.C. Foster Classics on February 20, both at the G.C. Foster College in Spanish Town.The events to be contested over the course of the series will be the 100 metres, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus, and 4x400m.REGIONAL MEETSThe five regional meets – the Corporate Area Development Meet, Youngster Goldsmith, Camperdown Classic (Corporate Area), Western Championships, and Central Championships – will be used to determine the qualifiers for the final on February 20.The six athletes with the two best times from each of the regional meets will advance to the final, with the athletes with the two best times from any meet who did not advance to the final earning wildcard spots for each event.Points will also be awarded to the winning schools, and the institution with the highest number of points will be declared champion at the end of the series. A champion boy, girl, and coach will also be named.The prizes for this year’s event include smartphones, $1 million worth of sporting equipment to the winning schools, and cash prizes of up to $250,000 to the champions.Any athlete who breaks a meet record will earn a scholarship of $20,000, which will be paid directly to the school the athlete will attend in September 2016.There are also $20,000 awards for breaking a championship or national junior record.Digicel’s chief executive officer David Butler told The Gleaner that the company was committed to the long-term development of Jamaican sports.”Since Digicel has been in Jamaica, we have been involved in many grass-roots schemes. Last year was such a success. We just felt that after a huge opportunity, we could see that people really loved the Grand Prix, and the idea was to put more back into the schools,” he said.”This year, we included a scholarship fund of just over $1 million, and that was really important, and it’s also about what kids are doing after athletics,” Butler added.Butler also revealed that the company had extended its three-year sponsorship of the meet, which began in 2015, until 2019.”I think we really wanted to show our commitment to this, and it gives great comfort as well to the events that are involved that we extended that out and we wanted them to understand that this isn’t a one-off thing,” he said.More than 14,000 athletes from 200 schools around the island are expected to participate in the Championships.last_img read more

Politics chose me – Powell

first_imgHaving championed the West Indies cricket team’s cause for seven years, former fast bowler-turned politician Daren Powell contends that he is ready to bowl the People’s National Party (PNP) to victory and unseat incumbent J.C. Hutchinson as member of Parliament for North West St Elizabeth.Powell took 85 Test wickets and 71 one-day international wickets in 37 and 55 matches, respectively.He believes that his “love for people” has destined him to represent them and is ready to deliver.”It’s not me who chose it (politics). Based on what I used to do in the community as a cricketer, people always loved me and showed me respect. People always ask me why I don’t go into representational politics and represent them,” he shared with The Gleaner.”In 2012, South East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Richard Parchment was passing through on a motorcade and the people stopped him and appointed him their new representative,” Powell recalled.”It is not based on anything – just how I live with the people. I have a passion for people and my community. I always do a lot for people and I have a passion for youth,” he shared.”I am weak for people who are very sick,” Powell said of a recent visit to the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth.While being respectful of his challenger, who has seen as many as 6,438 persons voting for him in 2007 and 5,689 in 2011, Powell said that he has no fear of the political veteran.”He has been around for some 20-odd years. He is not somebody easily beaten, but that constituency is lacking in many things – infrastructure, growth, and opportunities for the youth. One thing is for certain, I am more confident now about winning than when I just started,” stressed Powell.The PNP last won the seat in 1993 when Melford Brown was voted as MP. Since then, it has been the Hutchinson show.”Victory for the PNP! Victory for North West St Elizabeth and those who support change! I will take it home for the PNP,” Powell predicted.last_img read more