Money for record breakers at Gibson McCook Relays

With its 43rd staging ­scheduled for February 23, the Gibson McCook Relays is the oldest ­development meet on the local athletics calendar.

But in recent times, it has been receiving stiff competition from other meets. And in order to make it the most attractive meet again, the organisers will be dishing out $75,000 to all the record breakers this year.

“We believe the schools ­deserve it (the money). The cost of producing and managing teams is very high, and we would like to do more, and we will do more,” chairman of the organising committee, Professor Rainford Wilks, said. “We also believe that it will make the meet more attractive. The market place is very competitive now. There are other meets that are offering cash incentives, and we think it is just a part of today’s marketplace.”

Calabar High, who are currently the kingpins of high school athletics, stayed away from the meet last year while St Elizabeth Technical High School, one of the better-performing schools from western Jamaica, did not participate the last two years.

But Wilks told The Gleaner that this had nothing to do with the committee adding the incentives.

“Calabar not participating last year has no bearing on us adding the incentives. It is something that we believe is necessary with the marketplace that we are in now,” Wilks said. “We have invited Calabar again this year, and we have got a letter of acceptance from the acting principal (Calvin Rowe), and we are hoping that we do not have any recurrence of last year.”

He continued: “Last year, STETHS would have had the added cost to travel to town, and it was a very busy period, and they had Western Championships three days before our meet, so it was difficult for them to travel to Kingston.”

After submitting their entries for the meet last year, Calabar ­withdrew their team two days ­before the event.

“We still don’t know why they didn’t show up, but we are ­hoping that they will come this year,” Wilks said.

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