Press releases from the Nevis Amateur Athletic Association
25 March 2009: MASSIVE CROWDS EXPECTED FOR NEVIS' MINI OLYMPICS
The island of Nevis dubbed “Queen City” will practically grind to a halt on 1st April 2009 when the “mini-Olympics” is staged at Grove Park, Nevis. More than 40% of the islands population of 12,000 will be attending the biggest and most anticipated annual event, taking advantage of the expected half holiday given to allow parents, classmates, friends, relatives, sports lovers and well wishers to attend the “event”. This event is likely the largest annual sporting event in the Eastern Caribbean and it is certain to be the sports meet with the highest percentage of the population attending in the world. Guinness book of records take note!
Spectators enters the meet venue at Grove Park, negotiating passage through a gauntlet of enthusiastic visitors dressed up in eye catching outfits, outdoing each other, with self created vendors stalls lining both sides of the roadway to the competition area, and vendors selling a wide assortment of local and exotic foods, drinks and wares. Hundreds of buyers are vying for their attention for they want to get back to the action over the hill. They hear the roar of the crowd that travels in waves as the athletes circumnavigate the track. The cheers seem endless and build to a crescendo as they near the finish line. Then the good natured argument starts – who came first, second, third – the commentators provide no answers as they give out unofficial results. The athletes are being selected – the top three – for their awards given immediately after each event. The athletes have given their all as they vied for recognition and glory before thousands of eager fans.
The Gulf Insurance Primary Schools Championship has created many memorable moments …. An athlete on his way to the meet received a nasty gash across his brow as a result of a car accident and while getting attention at the hospital, soaked in blood, he told his mom “I have to go run”, which he did against her wishes, winning the 100m event for class six.
The meet now attracts persons from all over the world; from as far away as Sweden and from many Caribbean islands including Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Mr. Neville McCook, North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) President and IAAF Regional representative, will be a special guest at the meet along with Mr. Lenford Levy, Director of one of nine IAAF Regional Development Centers located in Puerto Rico. Anna Linner of Sweden will again fly thousands of miles to be in Nevis.
Desi Williams, a World class athlete and now a full time coach in Canada commented in 2008 “This is beautiful, this is unbelievable, cause we don't have anything like this in Canada ... It's great; you don’t know how special this is … All we need now is to put a track that we have in St. Kitts right here in Nevis ... There is nothing like it ... there is only one meet and that's the Penn Relays (in the US) where you have that carnival atmosphere, you have teams you know and everybody else".
The Honourable Joseph Parry, Premier & Minister responsible for Education stated at the 2008 opening ceremony "Nevis can point with some pride at the performance of athletes who has graduated out of this competition. I want to say that those of you who are moving on to High School we want you to continue to perform and not fall into idle ways and beginning to think that you are in control and move away from competition. Athletes who would perform at regional standards and athletes who would be recognized later in the world beyond. Let us use the competition to bring parents together, let us use the games to makes friends between the children, let us use the games to bring the people of Nevis together".
Mr. Leon Williams, Corporate Secretary for Gulf Insurance head office based in Trinidad exclaimed at the 2008 meet "Well I'm having a good time .... I'm really really impressed with the organising this year". So impressed that Gulf Insurance Head office based in Trinidad increased the sponsorship from $15,000 to $35,000 E.C. dollars, supporting the Nevis Amateur Athletic Association’s call for “top of the line equipment” to support the meet – a photo-finish system and a meet management program.
Gold sponsors Brown Hill Communications Ltd, Digicel, GMP Graphics & Printing and LIME add needed support and resources to the effort which will be very much evident during the meet. They will be displaying their products and services throughout the facility. Strong partnership support also comes from TDC and S. L. Horsford’s with a new spectator stand on the western part of the grounds. Other key partners include Caribbean Cable Communications, Choice Radio, VON Radio and SKN Vibes and the School sponsors. Details on other sponsors and partners will be provided shortly.
The one day meet, being held under the patronage of Ms. Leosha Wyatt, commences with a colourful opening ceremony at 12 noon. Top school athletes from Grades 1 - 6 (ages 6 – 12) participate with more than 350 athletes competing in 54 Track events including the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m 1,500m and the ever exciting relays 4x100m and 4x400m. Awards and Trophies are presented to the top three performers, outstanding athletes and winning teams in Division “A” & “B”. New “Digicel” trophies will be awarded to the Male & Female champion schools in each Division.
The meet features competition between 10 Primary schools: Charlestown, St. John’s, Ivor Walters (Gingerland), Joycelyn Liburd (Gingerland), Maude Crosse Preparatory School, St. James, St. Thomas and Violet O. J. Nicholls (Combermere) Primary Schools. Two new schools (Bellevue International & Lyn Jeffers) are jointly participating for the first time ever.
The meet sets an exceptional standard for organization, performance and crowd support with over 4,500 cheering spectators surrounding the fenced competition area. The meet has been organized for the last 27 years by the Nevis Amateur Athletic Association in conjunction with the Education Department and other partners and features several innovations in 2009 that will enhance the meet locally and regionally and internationally.
These include a new website launched at a press conference attended by sponsors, teams, media representatives and the Minister of Sports in the Nevis Island Administration. http://sites.google.com/site/nevispsc The site provides all the information for the much anticipated event including information on the school teams, past results/data, photos, records, sponsor information, messages, opening activities and much more. Start lists will be posted prior to the meet as well as video highlights. “Real time results and photographs” will also be available on the website.
· The meet will be broadcasted live on Television, for local viewing, and by three radio stations with live Internet audio. Internet viewers can also see "real time" video and hear live commentary streamed at a high quality and speed, enhanced with start lists and result information plus photo-finish images.
· A full integrated wireless computer network and software will link the photo-finish system with the registration area and the Secretariat, providing images and results accessible to the media, announcers, officials, teams and the general public.
· An enhanced public address system makes it debut as will enhanced Event & Security Plans. The general public who will also have access to medical facilities made available to them, in addition to those provided for the athletes.
· Secure Media facilities with all the communication capabilities are also being provided and a full colour high quality glossy magazine is now available for sale to the general public.
· To facilitate spectators from St. Kitts, boat arrangements will be made to ensure that our friends from across the waters in St. Kitts don’t miss out on this athletic extravaganza.
Nevis is located in the northern sector of the Leeward Islands chain, in the Eastern Caribbean, 1,300 miles southeast of Miami, and one hour by plane from Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or St Maarten and just 20 minutes from Antigua. Renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery, the island occupies 36 square miles and is dominated by Nevis Peak, which rises to a height of 3,265 feet in the center of the island. The capital, Charlestown, the location for the grand event is situated on the western side of the island.