Western Relays organizer urges Jamaican government to expedite repairs to running track at Montego Bay Sports Complex

By Sports Desk April 26, 2023
  Ray Harvey (second left) co-founder and meet organizer of MILO Western Relays presents a cheque for $210,000 at Jounee Armstrong (L) and Dylan Logan (R) and Coach Abna Stoner of Edwin Allen High School. Harvey called on government to expedite repairs to the running track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex that has been out of commission for the past five years. Ray Harvey (second left) co-founder and meet organizer of MILO Western Relays presents a cheque for $210,000 at Jounee Armstrong (L) and Dylan Logan (R) and Coach Abna Stoner of Edwin Allen High School. Harvey called on government to expedite repairs to the running track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex that has been out of commission for the past five years. Contributed

Ray Harvey, the co-founder and organizer of the MILO Western Relays on Monday pleaded with authorities to expedite repairs to the track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, the traditional home of the relays. The track has been out of commission for the past five years.

“I am one of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people who want Western Relays to go back home. I have been waiting patiently for five years for the track to be repaired, it just hasn't happened and we just have to keep our fingers crossed that it will happen sometime soon," Harvey said during a ceremony at GC Foster College in St Catherine on Monday when cash prizes were handed over to the schools who participated in this year’s meet at the sports college that has hosted the meet for the past few years.

Harvey noted that having a working track in Montego Bay is integral to the development of track and field in western Jamaica. In addition to the Milo Western Relays and other athletics meets, the Montego Bay Sports Complex also used to host a number of other events leading up to the relays.

They include seminars for coaches and athletes regarding drugs in sports, physical fitness and nutrition and baton-passing clinics for 10 and 11 year olds as well as training sessions for meet officials.

Those activities have ceased for the past five years.

“It is kind of a tragedy what is going on in Western Jamaica regarding the track and everything that is happening and what has been in the news recently,” said Harvey while making reference to a revelation that racing cars were being driven on the worn-out running surface.

“I would like to take this opportunity to call on the government to restore that track, get it back up because it is a pride for the Western teams and they have always been consistent and I think not having access to that facility is kinds robbing Western Jamaica of their true and full potential," Harvey continued.

"We are looking forward to going back to Montego Bay because we are also robbing the spectators or the ardent track and field supporters that opportunity to see their home grown talent performing with the best in the country."

The meet organizer also revealed that he would be subsidizing the travel expenses of the teams that had to travel from western Jamaica to St Catherine to collect their prize money.

"We have a special programme to support the teams from the West. We recognize that they are not able to be at home in Montego Bay. They have to travel. It is expensive to travel so we are offering six teams a subsidy towards their travel here coming to GC Foster College. They are getting two touches. One, this prize money and two the transportation money so the teams from the West, several of them will get two cheques.

Edwin Allen were big winners as they collected a cheque for JMD$210,000 having won five of six relays at the last meet. Coach Abna Stoner and athletes Jounee Armstrong and Dylan Logan, were on hand to receive the prize money.

The Clarendon-based track power’s girls won the Class I 4x100m, 4x400m and the 4x800m relays while the boys won the Class I 4x100m, 4x400m and placed third in the 4x800m.

Edwin Allen bagged the largest cash bounty of the 10 schools that benefited financially. The other winners included Kingston College (JMD $50,000), Holmwood Technical (JMD $50,000), Excelsior High School (JMD $40,000), St. Jago High School (JMD $20,000), Vere Techincal JMD ($20,000), Mt. Alvernia High School (JMD $15,000), Bellfield High School (JMD $5,000) and Green Island High School (JMD $5,000).

"I am happy to come all the way from the West to GC Foster College to present Edwin Allen a decent cheque. Its $210,000. They have supported Western Relays from (the) beginning and one of the schools we can always count on at Western Relays to put on a show and to make our product into something special," said Harvey

Coach Stoner of Edwin Allen was gracious in his reply.

"We are so grateful for (this) presentation because I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it and looked at the figure. This is really a shot in the arm and it will go a long way in contributing to the programme,” he said.

“This week we will be departing for Penn Relays and with all the logistics - airfare, pocket money for students, it is a pretty penny and this money that we got, it really can help to develop the programme." Edwin Allen departed the island for the Penn Relays on Tuesday.

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