Team Jamaica Bickle to Welcome Jamaican Athletes to Penn Relays Carnival After 2-Year Break

New York, New York - Team Jamaica Bickle is preparing to welcome Jamaican athletes to the Penn Relays Carnival for 2022 as easing of COVID-19 restrictions takes effect across the USA and the Caribbean. TJB was well into planning mode in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic halted most sporting activities worldwide, the Penn Relays being no exception. It’s been a two-year hiatus from these relays, for Team Jamaica Bickle and the athletes it serves.

calhighCalabar High School 2019 4x100m team in Action (Photo Credit: Collin Reid)The 125th staging of the Penn Relays will take place at Franklin Field, University of Pennsylvania, April 28-30, 2022.

Team Jamaica Bickle's, Irwine Clare, 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-years' absence, even while scaled-down versions were held.” He noted, however, that many were able to take advantage of scholarship opportunities during the hiatus. as their body of work would have allowed colleges to make those decisions.

The team recently made the trek to Jamaica for the annual Issa Boys & Girls High School Championships to witness the island’s athletes in action. “Champs” as its 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 can’t make the trip, Pennsylvania sees them by the thousands to support the athletes at the Penn Relays. It is truly a Jamaican experience as the Jamaican flag is flown resplendent at Franklin Field while the sea of Jamaican colors paints the stands. While the athletes busy themselves with competition, volunteers of Team Jamaica Bickle and Caribbean Food Delights --with whom TJB has been in partnership for over 25 years-- earnestly prepare their meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisting of delicious Jamaican menu items such as ackee and saltfish, callaloo, fried dumplings, curried goat, and brown-stewed chicken are prepared like clockwork over the three days of competition. For 2022 the setup will be different with plans to have meals pre-packaged and available for pickup by team managers at the hotel or on location at the relays. This will minimize contact under COVID-19 protocols.

Most schools make use of the coordinated services and hugely discounted accommodation rates negotiated by TJB at what is considered the team hotel. The organization also helps with ground transportation, including daily shuttles to the stadium. Physiotherapy services are offered by a team led by Dr. Thien Dang-Tan standing by to provide much-needed services to the athletes.

As is customary, with weeks to go, TJB is knee deep in planning with a slew of fundraising activities. The highlight will be a luncheon to be held Sunday April 24, 12 noon to 5 p.m., at the Crest Hollow Country Club, 8325 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY. Noted Olympian and Educator Vilma B. Charlton, OD, will be honored with the Pioneer in Athletics & Exemplary Leader in Sport Award. Other honorees are Stephen Drummond, Esq.; Dawn Warren, Esq., David Warren, Esq., and JoAnne Squillace, Esq.