Provincial high school sprinters will get an opportunity to compete against their Caribbean and American counterparts at the third annual Toronto International Track and Field Games (TITFG) on June 11 at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.
Athletes from the winning boys and girls schools at this weekend’s Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) track and field meet at the Oshawa Civic Centre will form all-star units that will compete against high school students from Detroit, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas in the Scotiabank International boys and girls 4 x 100-metre sprint relays.
“The talent in the Caribbean, and more particularly Jamaica, is exceptional,” said executive meet director, John Craig. “We also know there are alumni from the Caribbean schools who will be eager to get behind their athletes and support them.”
Jamaica will be represented by high school boys and girls champions Calabar and Holmwood, respectively, along with third-place boys’ team St. Jago, and Vere Technical, which finished fourth in the female division at last March’s inter-secondary school championships commonly known as “CHAMPS”.
A total of six St. Jago alumni, including 100-, 200- and 4 x100-metre silver medallist Yohan Blake, competed in the London Olympics.
Queen’s Royal College boys and St. Francois Girls College will be the Trinidad & Tobago representatives. Barbados will showcase Queen’s College boys and Springer Memorial girls’ teams and the Bahamas will be represented by C.V. Bethel Senior High School boys and girls sides.
Organizers added the high school relays to the meet after plans for a sprint relay showdown between Canada and the Trinidad & Tobago’s men’s teams fell through.
The twin-island republic was awarded the 4 x 100-metre bronze medal at last summer’s London Olympics after the Canadians were disqualified when Jared Connaughton stepped on the line as he rounded the turn on his third leg.
Nearly 40 Olympians from around the world, including national 100-metre men’s champion Justyn Warner, who set a personal best 10.09 secs. in London last year and 2012 Olympic Games high jump bronze medallist Derek Drouin will take part in the Toronto meet, which is the second of five National Track League stops this summer.
“This is a unique opportunity for Torontonians to see our best Canadian athletes competing on home soil,” said Craig. “We look forward to cheering on some of the best track athletes in the world alongside the next generation of athletic stars.”
T & T’s first Olympic champion, Hasley Crawford, will make a guest appearance at the meet. He won the 100-metre sprint at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, becoming the first Caribbean athlete to achieve the distinction.
“I am honoured to return to the international track stage in Canada,” he said. “I have fond memories of competing at the Montreal Olympics and I am flattered to have been invited by the organizers to attend this meet. Events like this one go a long way in preparing the next generation of track athletes to compete at major Games like the Pan/Parapan American games and the Olympics.”
Crawford will hold a coaching clinic and mentor high school athletes during his visit.
The fastest boy and girl in the province will also be crowned at the meet, which starts at 6 p.m.
Young people in the Under-11 age group participated in eight regional qualifiers in communities across the province for the opportunity to win “The Cisco Fastest Kids in Ontario” title.