KINGSTON:The 2016 staging of the Jamaica Cycling Federation’s (JCF) Kingston Criterium will take over the streets of downtown Kingston on Sunday, April 17 as the picturesque Kingston waterfront will provide the backdrop for an intense day of cycling.Action is scheduled to run from 1 p.m.-5 p.m., with registration set to begin at 11 a.m. The event is free to the public.Some of Jamaica’s finest riders, including 2014 Commonwealth Games representative Marloe Rodman and former national Oneil Samuels are among the participants.”We are expecting a very exciting event,” said Dr Wayne Palmer, head of the JCF Race Committee and overseer for the 2016 Kingston Criterium. “I think this has the potential to be one the most entertaining events undertaken by the federation in recent years. The Criterium event is usually one which is filled with thrills and daring racing manoeuvres, and that leads to a very enjoyable event from a viewing perspective.”The Kingston Criterium is a closed-circuit event, which will see cyclists racing several laps to complete a race. The events will be contested based on categories, including women’s and men’s elite, masters and juniors. In addition to the respective categories, there will also be a kids’ sprint.The circuit comprises parts of Ocean Boulevard, Orange Street and Port Royal Street. There is also expected to be an all comers ‘Rambo Race’, which will be a cash prize race for anyone brave enough to enter.
PEFORMANCES EXPECTED Meet director and athlete liaison Donald Quarrie, in giving an overview at the JII launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday, said he is expecting high-level performances at this year’s meet. “We are not going anywhere. We will continue to be a power house meet. We have a few (athletes) who have dropped out, but we are looking forward to some great performances,” Quarrie said. Chairman of the organising committee and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Dr Warren Blake said the one-day event has grown to world championship status. “The event started in 2004 and has grown to be one of the better rated one-day events in the world,” Blake announced. “We have more than half the athletes taking part coming from overseas. This year, we look to the Olympics, so we expect some good performances from the athletes,” he added. Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Grange said the event is a well-established brand locally. “With the Rio Olympic Games this year, the event is of great interest. We must ensure that our guests leave our shores pleased,” Grange said, “I’m excited by the galaxy of stars who will be performing on Saturday. The Government fully supports this world-class meet,” she added. Jamaica’s Olympic 100-metre champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, her training partner and World Championships 200m silver medallist Elaine Thompson, and outstanding American Tyson Gay are three of the global stars who will be on show at tomorrow’s 13th staging of the Jamaica International Invitational meet (JII) at the National Stadium. Gates are scheduled to open at 3:30 p.m., with the first event, the men’s javelin, set to start at 4:15. Also down to compete tomorrow are Shaunae Miller, who set a Bahamian 200m record of 22.14 seconds in winning the event last year ahead of Fraser-Pryce; Jamaica’s World Championships 4x400m gold medallists Stephenie Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills, Shericka Jackson, and Christine Day; and American 400m specialist Francena McCorory. Former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter are two of the top men for the sprints. However, World bronze medallist AndrÈ De Grasse of Canada, American hurdler Jasmin Stowers, and Jamaica-born 400m runner Sanya Richards-Ross have pulled out of the IAAF World Challenge meet. Richards-Ross opted out because she is not physically ready, while De Grasse and Stowers are injured. POWERFUL