Raynor hoping for bumper crowd
The Bermuda National Athletic Association is confident the International Permit Meet will surpass last year’s inaugural event — despite finding sponsorship hard to come by.
Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, is hoping for a bumper crowd to turn out for the event, featuring several overseas athletes, at the National Stadium.
“We upped the prize money so we were trying to get more sponsorship,” Raynor said. “Now we’re hoping the stadium is full to assist with that. It’ll be a shame if we don’t get a good turnout because how often do we have an event of this calibre in Bermuda? We have a range of tickets, $17, $37 and $77.
“We’ve taken it to a higher calibre with the athletes and we’re still talking to agents who are trying to get their athletes into the meet.”
Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Department of Youth and Sport are the two main sponsors, while Island Construction will sponsor the 3,000 metres steeplechase featuring Bermuda’s Lamont Marshall as he faces four United States athletes in an event rarely seen in Bermuda.
Bermuda Healthcare Services will sponsor the men’s 400 metres event, although no sponsors could be secured to provide prize money for the men’s long jump involving Tyrone Smith or the women’s 800 metres para-athletics event where Jessica Lewis will compete against two Canadians, Illana Dupont and Jessica Frotten. The top four finishers in each event will receive prize money.
“Jessica hasn’t competed in Bermuda in a few years,” Raynor said. “We didn’t get anybody to sponsor Tre [Houston’s] race either or Tyrone’s [Smith] long jump. The long jump is one of the feature events, we’ve got some top long jumpers coming in to compete.
“Since Tyrone has jumped over eight metres this year we were able to attract some top long jumpers. Also, in the 3,000 metres steeplechase, people haven’t seen the steeplechase at that level here.”
Smith broke his own Bermudian record when he produced a winning leap of 8.34 metres at the Tom Tellez Invitational Meet at the University of Houston last month. The leap qualifies him for the IAAF World Championships in London in August. Marshall is aiming to reach the qualifying standard of 8min 32sec for the steeplechase at the championships.
Branwen Smith-King, a former athlete, has come forward and offered sponsorship money.
Eight Bermudians will compete, including Houston and Kyle Webb in the 200, Sakari Famous in the women’s high jump and Shaquille Dill and Dage Minors in the 800.