When Jamaican high school athletes return to the Penn Relays later this month after a two-year absence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be given the traditional welcome by Team Jamaica Bickle (TBJ).
TBJ, in a media release, said it is preparing to welcome Jamaican athletes to the Penn Relays Carnival for 2022 as easing of COVID-19 restrictions takes effect across the United States and the Caribbean.
It said it was well into planning mode in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic halted most sporting activities worldwide, the Penn Relays being no exception.
The 125th staging of the Penn Relays will take place at Franklin Field, University of Pennsylvania from April 28-30.
TBJ’s Irwine Claire Sr; in expressing his delight on the return of athletes to Pennsylvania, said, “we know that our athletes have trained hard to showcase their prowess on the international stage and must be thrilled to be back on this revered stage for track and field, not only for bragging rights but most importantly to secure scholarships to colleges and universities overseas”.
“We know many of them would have been disappointed over the two-year’ absence, even while scaled-down versions were held,” Claire added.
He noted that many were still able to take advantage of scholarship opportunities during the hiatus as their body of work would have allowed colleges to make those decisions.
TBJ members recently made the trek to Jamaica for the annual Boys & Girls’ Athletics Championships to witness the island’s athletes in action.
‘Champs’ as it is affectionately called is the most exciting event on the high school sporting calendar and a must see for many who travel from across the Diaspora to witness the showdown between rival schools.
For Jamaicans from across the United States who unable to make the trip, Pennsylvania turn out in the thousands to support the athletes at the Penn Relays.
The media release noted that “it is truly a Jamaican experience as the Jamaican flag is flown resplendent at Franklin Field while the sea of Jamaican colours paints the stands”.