Jamaican track and field sprint queen Veronica Campbell, and Usain Bolt, fresh from his victory over America’s Tyson Gay at the Jamaica International Invitational, held recently at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, are set to compete at the Reebok Grand Prix in NYC on June 3. The event, which for Jamaicans is fast becoming to individual competition what Penn is to relays, begins at 5:30 p.m. At the recently concluded 2006 Penn Relays Carnival held in Philadelphia, Jamaica’s high school athletes dominated, once again. Holmwood Technical owned the Girls’ 4×100, 4×400, and 4×800, while Camperdown High School set the meet record with a time of 40.14 in the Boys 4×100, also winning the 4×400.
At last year’s Reebox Grand Prix, 200-meter winner Bolt, who won the highly anticipated Invitational men’s 200-metre in 20.18 seconds, said the huge Jamaican flag-waving crowd made New York City feel a lot like “a second Jamaica. A former student of William Knibb High School , Bolt said, “It feels like home.” Immediately after his victory, he jogged to the sidelines to sign autographs for a crowd of delighted admirers.
Bolt will return on June 3 to defend his title. With him will be Campbell, the 2004 Olympic triple medalist (200-meter and 4×100-meter gold, 100-meter bronze) and the most successful female track athlete in Athens. She continues in the rich track and field tradition of her high school alma mater, Vere Technical. Also expected are 2006 Commonwealth Games medalists Sheri-Ann Brooks (gold, 100 meters) formerly of Manchester High School; Omar Brown, (gold, 200 meters) who also attended Manchester High School and Albertown; Dorian Scott (silver, shot put) who attended Tallahasse Florida High; and Novlene Williams (bronze, 400m) of Ferncourt High School.