Birmingham’s high-speed link up and running

By on 22/02/2011 in News

Young Birmingham athletes hope to follow in the lightning fast footsteps of Usain Bolt next month when they compete in the 35th annual Gibson Relays.

A team of 24 Birmingham youngsters will compete at Jamaica's newly refurbished National Stadium in Kingston on March 12.

And Birmingham City Council Leader Mike Whitby says the invitation highlights the growing sporting links between Birmingham and Jamaica ahead of next year's Olympic Games.

The trip is part of the Jamaican Training Camp Legacy Exchange Programme, initiated by Cllr Whitby last year, which aims to increase participation in adult and school sports, building lasting sporting links between Jamaica and Birmingham.

The Birmingham athletes, aged 13-18, will compete in the 100m and 200m as around 4,000 athletes from 298 teams go head-to-head in the biggest ever Gibson Relays.

Cllr Whitby said: “Welcoming the Jamaican athletes to Birmingham ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games is only part of the story. We've said all along that our aim was to build a lasting legacy.

“This is a perfect example of our burgeoning sporting links with Jamaica and our young people competing in the Gibson Relays can only benefit from such a terrific opportunity. I'm sure they will do the city of Birmingham proud.”

In addition to athletics, the Legacy Exchange Programme will incorporate:

  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Netball

The programme offers opportunities for schools in Jamaica and Birmingham to link and learn from each other. Schools, school sports partnerships and Competition Managers in Birmingham have supported the programme to ensure that all athletes across Birmingham were given an opportunity to attend trials.

Birchfield Harriers will be represented by two team coaches and 11 athletes in Jamaica. Club chair and coach Andy Paul said: “The trip is a great opportunity for every athlete and the coaches travelling with them, a great chance to experience a new culture and see how sport operates in another country.

“We hope they return having made new friends, learnt more about themselves and the training for the events they do and maybe shared ideas with their peers from Jamaica.”

ENDS

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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