Roland Bhola

Roland Bhola

ST GEORGE’S, October 5, 2016 – Grenadians should expect a high level of competitive track and field at the inaugural Grenada Invitational scheduled for next April, according to Sports Minister Roland Bhola.

The Minister, who was holding his second media conference on Tuesday since being appointed Sports Minister in June, said that plans are ongoing for the staging of this international track meet on April 8. He said that the meet is collaborative effort of private individuals who have received the support of the Grenada Athletics Association (GAA), the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

“We have finalised on the date of Saturday 8th of April 2017. So you need to keep that date in your diary,” said Bhola, who was providing an update on the planning of the event.

“We have already received from the IAAF, the Area Permit Meet, and that was important for us because once you get the Area Permit Meet it means that whatever times these international athletes run would be recorded because it’s an international meet that they (IAAF) accept.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell recently disclosed plans for the staging of the Grenada Invitational during a media briefing in St George’s.

But the Minister explained that government is not organising or running the meet but providing support to private individuals who discussed the idea with the government.

“An idea came forward for doing what is called a Grenada Invitational and what that means in essence, is that we’re going to have an athletics sports meet where we’re going to attract some of the international stars – some of the best in the world to come to Grenada,” he said.

“And so the idea was sold. It was not the brain child of the Government or the Ministry of Sports but it was some private individuals and they came forward and government took it on board saying yes we are prepared to support, we are prepared to work with you because we see an event like that has great potential for Grenada, for our tourism product, for our sports and for exposing some of our local athletes,” Bhola explained.

The Minister said that Bahamian Olympian Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown will be providing valuable support to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to ensure a successful event next April.

Brown, who began competing professionally in 2003, is one of the longest competitive athlete from the Caribbean on the international circuit, rivalled only by a few including Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis.

“But one important name that I want to mention to you, who has been backing that and he would be in Grenada from October 17 to 22, is Chris Brown from the Bahamas.

Chris, over the last couple of years, has been doing an invitational in the Bahamas and he has in recent times encountered some issues and some problems so he will no longer be hosting and so he has found himself becoming very interested in what we are doing here and has given the commitment that he will back what we are doing in Grenada wholeheartedly,” he said.

“So we expect that meet on April 8, which is the final date, to be a massive meet where all Grenadians should come out at the National Athletics Stadium and to see the likes of international stars.

It’s a Saturday evening and it will be coming on the heels of Intercol so that week will be an athletic week for us with the climax being the Grenada Invitational,” he said.

The annual Secondary Schools’ Track and Field Championship, commonly called the Intercol Games, will be held at the National Stadium, April 4-6.

The LOC has already met and is planning an official launch for later this month.

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