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Jamaica geared up for invitational meeting

POCKET ROCKET: Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be competing on home turf

"THE JAMAICA International Invitational meet (is) a great way for the world’s top athletes to open their outdoor season," said Dr Warren Blake. He was speaking at the launch event recently at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Scheduled for May 7, the world’s top athletes will compete at the National Stadium in Kingston Jamaica, for this highly anticipated event on the sporting calendar.

The one-day meet will feature 19 exhilarating track and field events. Jamaicans world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and her team member world 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson along with US sprinters Mike Rodgers and Candyce McGrone are already confirmed. Though not revealing the full line up, meeting director and athlete liaison Donald Quarrie, promises that the 400 metres and the sprint events will feature the best in the world.

Now in its 13th staging, the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM) is an IAAF World Challenge Meeting. This year’s staging is critical as it comes just a few months before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, giving athletes the opportunity to gauge their Olympics preparedness. According to Quarrie, ‘the quality of the officials, the managers and athletes are of the Diamond League standard.’

The JIIM not only gives track and field enthusiasts the opportunity to see their track and field stars compete against the best in the world, but it also gives the island the opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities to host world class international sporting events.

"Sport is one of the flagship elements in the marketing mix for Destination Jamaica, and the Jamaica International Invitational Meet helps to position Kingston as the sporting capital of the Caribbean," said Jason Hall, deputy director of tourism, cruise, attractions and events, Jamaica Tourist Board.

He continued: "The Jamaica Tourist Board celebrates the superb talents of our athletes in diverse events, and their outstanding performances on their various fields of play augurs well for Jamaica.’

Over its previous stagings the meet has seen the participation of athletes such as Usain Bolt, Ryan Bailey, Asafa Powell, LaShawn Merritt, Blessing Okabare, Hansle Parchment, Felix Sanchez, William Clay, Christian Catwell, Reece Hoffman, Kerron Stewart, Biana Knight, Sanya Richards- Ross, Novlene Williams- Mills, Francena McCorory and Tiffany Porter.

The meeting will begin at 7:00pm (Jamaica time) and will last for two hours. International viewers can watch it live on 1 Spotmedia.

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