NEW YORK CITY – The island of Jamaica comes to New York on June 3rd for the 2nd annual Reebok Grand Prix track & field competition with a line-up that includes some of the biggest names in Jamaican athletics including Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell, and 200-meter World Junior Record holder Usain Bolt, fresh from his victory over America’s Tyson Gay at the Jamaica International Invitational.
Exuberant fans will be treated to a pre-game Reggae concert featuring the ever-popular New Kingston Band. The event, which for Jamaicans is fast becoming to individual competition what Penn is to relays, begins at 5:30 p.m. with the pre-show kicking off at 4pm.
At last year’s Reebox Grand Prix, 200-meter winner Bolt, a former student of William Knibb High School, 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.
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 wowed patrons at the recent Addidas Track Classic by defeating 2006 World Indoor 60m champion Lisa Barber (U.S .) to win the 100-meter in 10.99 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. She continues in the rich track and field tradition of her high school alma mater, Vere Technical.
Rounding out the roster of Jamaican athletes with Campbell and Bolt 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; and Dorian Scott (silver, shot put) who attended Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. Also competing are Danny McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist (400m hurdles) who attended Ocho Rios High School;
Davian Clarke (400m) formerly of Kingston College; Peta-Gaye Dowdie (100m) who attended St. Jago High School; Shereefa Lloyd, who attended both Vere and GC Foster High School, and Ronetta Smith (400m) formerly of Camperdown; Lacena Golding-Clarke (Vere Technical) and Vonette Dixon (100m hurdles) formerly of Mannings High School.
The New Kingston Band, managed by famed Jamaican musician Courtney Panton and composed of his three sons Leighton, Courtney, and Tahir Panton and close friend Stephen Suckarie, are slated to groove Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island with the drum and bass sounds of Reggae.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the band has been dubbed “the next biggest baddest band in the industry” having played with some of the biggest names in Jamaican music including Reggae legends Johnny Osbourne, Frankie Paul, and Sammy Dread as well as contemporary acts ranging from roots crooner I-Wayne to dancehall artist Assassin. The concert also features rising Jamaican singer Jovi Rockwell.
The Reebok Grand Prix, the only outdoor East Coast meet that offers head-to-head competition among world-class athletes, was the first international competition held in the new Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island when it debuted last year. Tickets, at $30 and $20, are now on sale at www.ReebokGrandPrix.com or by calling 1-877-TIX-TRAC– Call-in using the promo code Jamaica and receive a $5 discount. Children under 12 receive a $10 discount. Group discounts are also available.
The event, managed by Global Athletics & Marketing, Inc., begins at 5:30 p.m. June 3 and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ET. It is the fourth stop in USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series.