WESTERN BUREAU:The Jamaica Public Service has increased its sponsorship to $2 million for the 2017 JPS Western Primary Schools’ Athletics Championship.This year’s meet is set for June 9 and 10 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in St James.The sponsorship cheque, which shows an increase of $1.2 million over last year, was handed over to the organisers at yesterday’s launch. More than 32 schools are set to compete at the meet.”JPS is very excited to once again partner with Albert Ferguson (meet director) and his team,” T’Shura Gibbs, director of JPS Region West, said. She added that the meet organisers have been creating a platform for hope in the children.In response, Ferguson lauded JPS and other sponsors for their continued support of athletics development in western Jamaica, noting that many young star athletes began their careers at the meet. He mentioned Carifta gold medallist Jauvaney James of St Elizabeth Technical. James is a past student of Anchovy Primary.”I want to thank all of you collectively for your continued contribution to the development of track and field at the primary level,” Ferguson outlined.This year marks the first time that the meet will be held over two days and will feature 42 events, most of which will be contested in heats, semi-finals and finals. Eight of the finals will be contested on the first day.”As we strive to develop future champions of the sport, the organising committee has decided to introduce some new events. These include the girls’ open 70m hurdles, boys’ open 80m hurdles and high jump open for boys and girls,” Ferguson disclosed.FIRST-TIME ENTRANTSSet to compete in the championship for the first time is Waldensia Primary, the school which produced current world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt. Other newcomers are Glen Stuart Primary, Holland Primary, Vaughnsfield Primary, Lethe Primary and Williamsfield All-Age. Corinaldi Avenue Primary are the defending champions.”For the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), this is all about development and we have seen the foundation that has been made by the Western Primary Championships,” said Denzil Wilks, general manager of SDF, in his address at the launch.
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