SOME OF the globe’s biggest track and field stars are expected to converge at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on May 21 for the pilot hosting of the star-studded Trinidad and Tobago Grand Games, from 6 pm.
The brainchild initiative, led by chief executive officer Regina John, technical director Dexter Voisin and communications representative Dahlia Ditzen, will feature a mega cast of Olympic and World Championship medallists competing alongside some of TT ’s finest young track stars in 16 events. At the launch at the Point Fortin Room, Hyatt Regency, yesterday, John admitted that the chances of witnessing world record holder and reigning Olympic men’s 100-metre champion, Usain Bolt, are indeed possible.
“Negotiations have been going on with his (Bolt) agent and as time passes we will reveal our 100m male athletes,” she said with a smile.
Additionally, the Grand Games has been granted an area permit by the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Association. This means that any records broken at the meet, with all other technical aspects in place, will be recognised.
“This is the first area permit meet since the 1984 Neal and Massy Classic, and according to Voisin, “is a great step for organisers of this tourney”.
Dubbed the ‘Showdown at Sundown’, it is the intent of event planners to host the inaugural Grand Games under all rules and stipulations of the International Association of Athletics Administrations (IAAF).
In his address, Voisin further explained that all rules will be adhered to.
“There will be dope testing,” he said. “We know the way things are going in track and field around the globe and we don’t want to fall victim of that in Trinidad and Tobago and there will be drug testing at the meet.
“The IAAF has already assigned a medical delegate to the meet who will oversee all the drug testing. The equipment is in place at the Stadium, where there is any shortfall, the NAAA’s will ensure that we have all the required IAAF stipulated equipment for such a meet to take place here.” It is however, the main goal of organisers to fill the 23,000 seater Stadium to capacity.
Their aim is to entice not only spectators of the sporting discipline, but incorporate TT ’s party atmosphere and culture, as a great motivator for spectators.
Following the meet, ticket holders will automatically gain entrance to the after-party which will be held in the Stadium car park.
Tickets are $350 (US$60 online). There are however, several promotions attached to every ticket bought.
Every patron is entered for a chance to win a brand new Hyundai Elantra car which will be drawn on the day (May 21). In addition, the purchase of a ticket gains entry into the after party (BeGrand2K16) at the Stadium.
On March 23, one lucky patron will be drawn for a $10,000 jackpot. There is also an ongoing Facebook promotion where enthusiasts can win a two-wheel self-balancing scooter. The winner will be drawn on May 14.
As per profits from this initiative, John insisted on giving back to the national athletes.
With an estimated budget of US$1m thus far, prizes will range from US$4,800 for first place and US$3,600 for runners-up straight down to the eighth place finisher.
“We plan to host these games continuously and the profits that arise from these games will be invested towards assisting our athletes directly and bridge gaps. We are bringing the best of athletes from Olympic medallists to World Championship winners.
We would really like corporate Trinidad and Tobago to assist us with an event of this magnitude,” John continued.
There will also be a kids event on May 20.
Over 300 schools have already been invited with 30 students and two teachers the given limit per school. Thus far, the likes of local athletes such as Jamol James, Aleena Brooks, Ruebin Walters, Reyare Thomas and Emmanuel Mayers have all confirmed their participation. Several other athletes from within and outside the Caribbean region have also pledged their allegiance to this meet with a lengthy list of more internationals yet to be added to the cast.
The Men’s 100m will be the blue ribbon event.
For more information, log on to www.
thettgg.com or their Facebook Page ‘Trinidad and Tobago Grand Games’.