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Fair to grow

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Fair to grow

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A two-day event, offering more than what happens on the track, is the next step for the organizers of the Barbados Relay Fair.
During the launch of the tenth anniversary edition yesterday at Kensington Oval, Dennis Depeiza, of Regional Management Services, said it was creating the structure to make it a “premier meet within the region” and develop the sports tourism potential, but it would need greater support.
The 2013 Barbados Relay Fair will be held on February 23 at Kensington Oval from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m.
“In doing so, we recognize the value of having teams from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago particularly, those are premier Caribbean teams,” Depeiza said.
“And the way that track and field has grown in the eyes of the world in terms of the region, those youngsters who grow out of this meet and who come into the CAC (Central American and Caribbean competition) and so on, these are the ones who go on the world stage.
“So if we are hoping to project what we have, it means we have to put something into making it happen,” he added.
Similarly, Depeiza said resource personnel who can develop the coaches and the athletes may be brought in.
June Rudder, of Elite Sports, said moving to a two-day event was on the cards, but each stage of development was being carefully weighed to ensure it was done correctly.
When the event started in 2003, it was limited to the secondary schools, with the primary schools, Over-45s, clubs and institutions being included. Hundreds of athletes are now taking part in the Relay Fair.
With Kensington Oval only able to accommodate a 300-metre track, the organizers have unveiled a new set of events which include the 900-metre medley (100x200x300x300); 4x300m; 4x150m and the 1200m-medley comprising the 100x200x300x600. There are no 4x100s or 4x400s.
The exhibition shuttle relay, which was on the original programme, is also back this year, as well as a charity relay. The stadium records will remain separate.
Responding to complaints that the younger athletes were out too late, CSME Sports’ Leroy Harper said the events for the Under-11s, Under-13s and Under-15s would be run early, followed by those for the older athletes.
The 4x300m relays for the Under-20 athletes will close the programme.
To date, the lone confirmed overseas team is from Tutorial High School in Guyana.
Registration will take place on February 20 from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. at the Oval.
Harper, who is in charge of the photo finish and timing, said they were looking forward to using some of the technology available at the historic cricket venue.
Spectators will be mainly housed in the Greenidge & Haynes Stand and will get the chance to see instant video replays on the big screen. The event will once again be streamed live online via Barbados Today.
The “fair” element is also receiving a major boost this year with the Activity Hot Spot on the eastern concourse. It will feature fun rides, jumping tents, face painting and other activities for children.
Ben Toppin, of Kensington Oval Management Inc., said they had successfully staged fairs at the venue and this wide range of activities would be visible from the spectator stands and should be a hit among the children.
A limited number of specially priced tickets will soon go on sale for children at schools and at various box offices for adults. Tickets will soon be available for purchase online.  
Corporate Barbados can also get on board. Sixteen corporate suites are available for rental as well as advertising space on the electronic screen.