St. Lucian star sprinter Julien Alfred opened her 2024 outdoor season with a pair of victories at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, California on Saturday.

The 2023 Bowerman Award winner first produced 22.58 to win the 200m ahead of training partners Rhasidat Adeleke (22.61) and 2019 World champion Dina Asher-Smith (22.80).

Alfred then returned to team up with Adeleke, Asher-Smith and Lanae Tava-Thomas and win the women’s elite 4x100m relay in 42.03 ahead of Formula Kersee (Keni Harrison, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Jenna Prandini, Morolake Akinosun) who ran 42.93 and the Ivory Coast who ran 43.17.

In the field, Jamaican Ralford Mullings threw 64.43m to win the men’s discus ahead of Turner Washington (63.64m) and Jordan Roach (61.45m).

Celebrated coach and Racers Track Club President Glen Mills says the value of meets such as the Racers Grand Prix cannot be overstated, given the significant role it plays in the development of the country’s young athletes in particular.

Mills’s comments came as he announced the plethora of local and international stars that are expected to set this year’s sixth edition of the Racers Grand Prix alight at the National Stadium on June 1.

Among them is American World champion Noah Lyles, who clocked a superb 19.67s to win the 200m, sharing the spotlight with Jamaica's Shericka Jackson and South African Wayde Van Niekerk last year.

He is set to line up in the men’s 100m on this occasion, alongside rising Jamaican sensation Oblique Seville, World University champion Kadrian Goldson, Great Britain’s World Championships bronze medallist Zharnel Hughes, Canadian Aaron Brown and American Kendal Williams, with two more athletes to be confirmed.

According to Mills, who was instrumental in the decorated career of now-retired Usain Bolt, having young athletes compete on home soil against world class superstars not only drives their development, but also influences positive behavioural changes towards training.

Reigning 400m World champion Antonio Watson is one such example, as he broke the 45-second barrier for the first time on his debut outing at the event last year, and he later followed that up by topping a quality field in Budapest, Hungary. 

“A meet of this level is very important in development of our athletes, and I don't think we can underscore its value in their development as a coach. I can tell you, when we have them competing here in Jamaica against the world and the fans come out and really cheer for them, it makes a difference when they return to the training field,” Mills said during the event’s launch at the Jamaica Pegasus on Tuesday.

“They know and feel the support and the energy and electricity. When that happens, we get better performances on the training track, and as you can see, it goes on to the international stage as well. So, thank you for supporting Racers Grand Prix all and I'm hoping to see everyone on June 1,” he added.

Known globally as Jamaica’s foremost track and field meet credited with showcasing many of Jamaica’s most decorated athletes, Racers Grand Prix, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver event, promises an exhilarating demonstration of athletic excellence.

There are 13 events –men’s and women’s 100m, 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles, women’s 100m hurdles, men’s 110m hurdles, as well as the men’s long jump, triple jump and discus throw –to be contested across two-and-a-half hours of scintillating action starting at 7:00pm.

The women's 100m hurdles is headlined by Bahamas’s World Indoor champion Devynne Charlton, and Great Britain’s Cindy Sember, up against Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper and rising Jamaican sensation Ackera Nugent.

For the men’s 110m hurdles, Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment will lead compatriots Damion Thomas and last year’s champion Tyler Mason, against the American duo of Trey Cunningham and Robert Dunning.

World champion Antonio Watson headlines the field for the men’s 400m, which includes Champion Allison and Nigerian NCAA champion Emmanuel Bamidele. Demish Gaye, Zandrion Barnes and Javon Francis, are the other Jamaicans confirmed.

Meanwhile, World Indoor champion Julien Alfred of St Lucia headlines the women’s 100m field, alongside Jamaica’s Alana Reid, Ashanti Moore and World Indoor silver medallist Mikiah Brisco, with four more ladies to be confirmed.

World Championships finalist Roshawn Clarke headlines the men’s 400m hurdles field, while Ireland’s NCAA Champion Rhasidat Adeleke will square off against Jamaica’s Stacy Ann Williams, Candice McLeod, Charokee Young, and Junelle Bromfield in the women’s 400m.

American Will Abbey Steiner and Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards top the list of competitors for the men’s and women’s 200m. In the field, Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert and American Will Claye lead the confirmed athletes for the men’s triple jump, while another Jamaican Carey McLeod, and Laquan Nairn of Bahamas, will line up in the long jump, with three more athletes to be confirmed.