It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 42nd renewal of the Gibson McCook Relays. We thank you for taking the time to join us and hope that together we can continue to improve on this product for the good of sport in particular and Jamaica in general.
The Organizing Committee is extremely grateful to our sponsors who continue to support us despite protracted di cult economic conditions. We assure you that we are continually taking all possible steps to ensure that the quality of the product justi es your support and we welcome your feedback at all times.
We regret that a couple of events did not take place last year due to inadequate participation by athletes and we will endeavour to avoid any recurrence of this.
We are particularly grateful to our major sponsors, presenting sponsor PUMA as well as Digicel and CVM who have entered into multi-year contracts with us, allowing us to plan with more assurance. We look forward to inking similar deals with our other major sponsors.
I wish to make a few remarks about the local participation in the Gibson McCook Relays. Last year we really missed some of our star athletes at all levels. The non-participation of the boys from St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), some of the stars from Calabar and other schools as well as many of our international elite athletes, took some of the sheen to the meet and may have a ected attendance. We look forward to welcoming them back this year. We recognize that the market for athletics in Jamaica has changed signi cantly since 1973 and there are now many track meets prior to the High Schools’ Championships. We understand that as a result, coaches and others must manage the athletes carefully. Notwithstanding, we look forward to your best possible support for this, the premier pre-High Schools Championships event.
We thank Digicel for providing cash awards for the Meet. The award of J$150,000.00 to the best single performance of the meet from any category as well as J$100,000.00 each to the best overall performing boys and girls schools are important incentives which we hope will encourage participation.
There are two issues that I wish to raise in respect of our coaches, managers and other supporters of schools. The high school experience, including sports, is part of the character building exercise for our young people. Honesty and integrity are among the values we hold dear and seek to inculcate in these youth. The practice of substituting athletes in races without prior permission such that athletes are running under a false names is something that we wish to eliminate.
We encourage our coaches to discontinue this and we have this year introduced full, veri able accreditation for all athletes in order to discourage this practice.
Our second concern revolves around the behaviour of some coaches and other supporters which sometimes falls below acceptable standards. There are occurrences of unacceptable crude and discourteous behaviour by coaches and other members of the management teams, directed at athletes as well as the meet officials. We call on principals and other school o cials to hold their coaches and team o cials, voluntary or otherwise, to the same standard that they would hold the teachers and other members of staff. We have revised our rules so that behaviour which brings the meet into disrepute will result in withdrawal of the accreditation of the o ender. We crave the cooperation of all involved in this endeavour as we seek to set good examples for our youth.
We take the opportunity to acknowledge the retirement of our most illustrious alumnus, Dr. the Honourable Usain Bolt, to thank him most sincerely for his contribution over the years and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Overseas Participation & Reaching out to the Caribbean
We know that overseas participation always enhances the meet and we continue to try to attract competition from our regional neighbours in our Federation. Unfortunately, we have had no success from the Caribbean islands but we continue to entreat them. is year we expect one high school team from Maryland in the USA and hope that the arrangements can be concluded successfully.
The Gibson McCook Relays 2018
The Relays this year will feature two new Championship Events in the Sprint Medley Relay Open for High School Boys and Girls. This brings our total Championship Events to 15. We believe that these events will add to the spectacle of the Relays The Howard Aris Memorial Lecture Apart from the Relays on February 24, our other major event is the Howard Aris Memorial Lecture in honour of coach and administrator, par excellence, the late Howard Aris. This event takes place at 6pm on Wednesday February 21, 2018 at the University of Technology. Our guest speaker will be one of our most successful Olympians Mrs. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and we all know that she has a story worth going miles to hear.
The History of the Gibson Relays
Our book chronicling the history of the Gibson Relays 1973-2014 is on sale here today and we trust that you will take the opportunity to purchase your copy.
Let me conclude with the good news that all our prices remain the same as last year ($3,000 for entry to the Finish Line section of the grandstand, $2,000 for the rest of the grandstand and $500 for the bleachers).
Once again, the Gibson McCook Relays Organizing Committee (GMROC) thanks you for your support and we sincerely hope for a successful and enjoyable event.