In a bid to provide its senior athletes with competition as they prepare for the National Championships and other international competitions including the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, later this year, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), in partnership with the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), has launched a series of four meets dubbed the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series.

The first meet is set to take place on Saturday, February 19 at the National Stadium in Kingston and will begin at 5 pm and end at 7:30 pm.

Each meeting will have 14 individual events with four of them designated as Premium events. The selected premium events for the first meet are the 400m for men and women and the discus for men and women.

 At the end of the premium events, the top three finishers, providing they meet a set minimum standard, will earn a total of one hundred thousand dollars. Winners will receive $50,000, athletes finishing second will win $30,000.00 while third place athletes will bank $20,000.00.  

“It’s up to us to ensure that our athletes, especially those based locally, are given as much assistance as possible in their preparation,” said JAAA President Garth Gayle.

“We have limited resources but thanks to the SDF, who has decided to partner with us, we are able to offer some financial incentive.”

Denzil Wilks, General Manager of the Sports Development Foundation, said his organization is happy to play its part.

“Jamaica’s standing in this sport is second to none. This speaks volumes of the organization that runs the sport locally. The SDF has worked with the JAAA over the years and we have never been disappointed. We have always received value for money. This is just a continuation of that long-standing partnership,” he said.

 Junior athletes will compete earlier in the day between 8:30 and 5:00 pm.

No approval for spectators was granted for the first meet, with only athletes, officials and medical personnel to be allowed entry. Only one meet will be staged in February, with the other three scheduled for between May and June.

Registration for the meet closes on Wednesday, February 16 at 6 pm.

 

 

 

 

The 43rd Western Relays was launched at the Deja All-Inclusive Resort on the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard in Montego Bay on Tuesday without its long-time sponsor Milo. The meet set for Saturday, February 12, is scheduled to begin at 100:00 am and end at 5:00 PM at the GC Foster College in St. Catherine.

There will be a reduced number of events at this year’s staging because of Covid-related restrictions that include no spectators. Arising from the development, the organizers have arranged to stream the meet live on the TrackAlerts YouTube channel.

The events on the schedule this year include 100m, 400m, 4x100m relays, 4x400m relays, 4x800m relays and the Sprint Medley Relay.

Regarding the absence of the usual title sponsor, Chairman of the Organizing Committee Ray Harvey said that a number of sponsors have come on board to make up for some of the shortfalls of funds to stage a successful but scaled-down version of the meet.

He said he was pleased that the meet was able to return to the calendar for the 2022 season.

"The fact that we didn't have our meet last year told us we should have our meet this year. We did not want to have the two-year hiatus,” Harvey said.

“We have been away from Montego Bay for four years now but that is acceptable but having no meet in is not acceptable.  So despite the early setback of not having Milo's sponsorship we were determined that the 2022 Western Relays should take place.”

  Among the sponsors that have come aboard is the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).

"The history of the event speaks for itself.  When I got the call and I took it to the board, there wasn't any great convincing,” said SDF General Manager Denzil Wilks.

“We all knew what this thing was all about and when we were told that the major sponsor dropped out, we recognized immediately that we couldn't let this one fall by the wayside.”

The Jamaica Olympic Association's (JOA) has also come on board to provide financial support for the meet.

"We are very pleased to be a part of the Western Relays.  We think it’s an important event for the West because it provides the opportunity for young people not only to demonstrate their athletic prowess but also to be educated and grow with the meet in statue,” said President Christopher Samuda.

“We came on board in response to a need and we always respond to needs.  We interface directly with our member associations but certainly when a brief is given to us and we understand that there is a need then we respond positively. “

Also among the sponsors are WATA, Powerade, Custom Marble, Trackalerts, Gibson McCook Relays, World-Class Athletics and On Di Run Events Managements as well as some of Ray Harvey's batch-mates at Nebraska University.

Construction of the house of former national football star Miguel Blair in Rae Town was completed after three years and Michael Tulloch, one of the founders of the Unsung Ones Foundation, was more than happy with the project.

In the 1970s, Blair, of Santos fame, would be compared with the likes of Allan 'Skill' Cole, Peter 'Dove' Marston, Derrick 'Shastri' Denniser and Herbert 'Dago' Gordon as the leading players of that era.
But Blair has fallen on hard times and was living in squalor in an open lot that was eventually turned into his beautiful home.
Tulloch, a feared striker in his time, had high praises for the efforts from the government through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF); the Food For The Poor, Bert’s Auto and members of his organisation including Allan “Skill” Cole, Charlie Chaplin, Neville Oxford and Bev Melbourne to name a few.
“Miguel (Blair) is elated and that’s what’s important,” Tulloch pointed out.
“I just want to thank everyone involved. The Ministry of Sports through SDF and Mr Denzil Wilks provided the funds to get the trucks and the tractors to clean up the land. Bert’s and Food For the Poor all did a tremendous job,” Tulloch explained.
Wilks, General Manager of SDF, outlined that they have been providing care packages to Blair and collaborated with the Sports ministry, his family and the Vere Technical High School past students in making him as comfortable as possible.
“We also provided the Justice of the Peace to verify his living conditions then we sent off the information to the Food for the Poor”
“The Ministry also made contact with his sister, Pauline Blair, in regards to the house title and we are aware that the Vere Technical Past Students assisted in paying off the taxes so that the land would be available,” Wilks pointed out.
Members of the Bert’s Auto team were on hand, working feverishly to finish the project and Marketing Officer Waynette Strachan, said joining the cause was a no-brainer.
“It’s a one-day construction so we intend to hand it over today (Thursday) and at the end of the day Mr Blair would be in a new structure of a two-and-a-half bedroom,” said Strachan.
“With the new design that Food for the Poor has, there is a septic tank, a water tank, two solar panels that power the light bulbs. He also gets three double beds, a kitchen and a bathroom.
“He used to live in a shack before and his story was carried in 2018 so when Bert’s reached out to Food for the Poor saying that we wanted to donate a house to somebody and when they brought this to our attention it was a no brainer.”
Food for the Poor’s Development and Marketing Manager Marsha Burrell-Rose was also on-site.
“We are here with the Bert’s team, they are the donors for this house and when it came to us, Bert’s wanted to assist somebody with the house and since they are close by we decided to align the two together,” said Burrell-Rose.
“If you see where Mr Blair is coming from in terms of where he is currently living; and so we are very excited to just see the difference that this house is going to make.”

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