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Digicel Grand Prix fever starts with Anthrick Corporate Area Championship

Jamaica Observer 2020-02-14 11:27:57

Defending champions Kingston College (KC) and Excelsior High girls will start favourites to retain their Digicel/Anthrick Corporate Area Championship crowns as the two-day meet starts today inside the National Stadium.

There will be no prize money at stake this time around. However, teams will be vying for bragging rights and a chance to qualify athletes to the Digicel Grand Prix finals with over $5 million in prizes, and crucially, preparing themselves for the upcoming ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships.

The Corporate Area Championship has long been a major indicator of the eventual boys winner at Champs, but not so for the girls.

KC took top honours at Corporate last year with 461 points, 98 more than second-placed Calabar High on 363. Jamaica College were third with 342 with Excelsior boys fourth on 123 ahead of Wolmer's Boys' in fifth with 110.

Excelsior girls romped the female section amassing 332.5 points, some 94 points clear of second-placed Immaculate Conception High on 238.5. The Queen's School was third with 204 ahead of Wolmer's Girls with 171. The Convent of Mercy Alpha was fifth with 147.5 points.

The top performers will get a chance to compete at the Digicel Grand Prix finals, where their schools will be hunting the $1-million winning prize in the boys' and girls' categories.

Organisers of the 2020 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship are expecting another stellar season based on the early performances at several development meets staged recently.

Now in its sixth year and following a string of record-breaking performances in 2019, Digicel 'Grassroots to Greatness' project focuses on honing and unleashing the talent of Jamaica's student-athletes as they look forward to making it big on the world stage in the way that Digicel ambassadors Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce have done.

Elon Parkinson, Digicel's public relations and communications manager, told the Jamaica Observer that this season will be just as exciting, while hinting to a renewed energy and anticipation culminating with record-breaking performances.

“We see a big ambition within our student-athletes to deliver some jaw-dropping performances that are consistent with what the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship have become known for…and we just can't wait to see them put out their best,” said Parkinson.

“By our continued support for the development of youth athletics in Jamaica, we've also been able to make this championship the proving ground of choice for athletes who want to make a great start to the athletics season,” he added.

The race to qualify for the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship begins on February 15 with the Digicel Corporate Area Development Meet at the National Stadium, and ends on March 14 with the grand finale at the G C Foster Classics.

Kingston College and Hydel High are the defending boys' and girls' champions, respectively.

Digicel will also be associate sponsor for Western Championships on Saturday, February 15, at St Elizabeth Technical High School; Central Championships on Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26, at G C Foster College, and Eastern Championships on Monday, February 24, at National Stadium.

Athletes from these meets will qualify for the Digicel Grand Prix Final/G C Foster Classics.

For fans who are unable to attend these events, Digicel will use the power of its expanded LTE mobile data network to air the meets live via the SportsMax app. Smartphone users on any network can download the app and get in on the action while they're on the go.

“Whether you're the parent of an athlete, or an avid sports fan who always has the fear of missing out, the convenience of keeping connected via the SportsMax app to every moment on the track and field is priceless. As the digital lifestyle partner for our customers, we're very proud to make moments like these happen and we look forward to another successful season,” Parkinson said.

– Howard Walker