Count Down Begins To Team Jamaica Bickle At The Penn Relays


Jamaican Olympian Grace Jackson, second from r., receives  US Congressional award. (Photo  by  Donovan  Gopie,  April 2012)News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. April 23, 2012: The countdown has begun to Team Jamaica Bickle’s participation at this year’s annual Penn Relays, set for April 26-28 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Volunteers of the not-for-profit organization, based in New York, are busy fundraising to help cover the meals, accommodation and transportation of the many Caribbean athletes who will participate at this year’s running of the relays.

Formed in 1994 under the leadership of Irwine G. Clare Sr., to provide much needed support for Jamaican athletes who compete at the annual Penn Relays Carnival, the group recently held its annual pre-Penn reception and honored two of Jamaica’s most prolific Olympians – Grace Jackson and Bertland Cameron. Both were also presented with proclamations from the office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke in honor of their outstanding contributions to sports both on and off the track.
The Team Jamaica Bickle annual Reception and Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday, April 12, in New York and was hosted by fellow Olympian and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Devon Harris, who captained Jamaica’s 1998 Winter Olympic Bob Sled Team.

Other Olympians on hand to cheer them on were Alfred Daley, 400m specialist, who shared the stage with Lennox Miller, Donald Quarrie and later, a younger Bertland Cameron, Andria Lloyd, who represented Jamaica in the 1996 Olympics 4x100m relays and Danny McFarlane, silver medalist in the 4x400m, Olympic games.
Jamaica’s Minister of Sports without portfolio, Natalie Neita-Headley delivered a special recorded message to the honorees on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, in which she spoke of her, “delight in joining Team Jamaica Bickle and the Diaspora in celebrating Jamaica’s best assets; her people…against the backdrop of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.”

Jamaica’s, Deputy Consul General to New York, Ms. Sharon Burrell Green and Christopher Castriota, newly appointed community relations officer, as well as a contingent from the Jamaica Tourist Board New York tri-state region: Kenton Senior, Ruth West, Marcia Sinclair and Anthony King, were out in full force.
Vincent HoSang and daughter Sabrina HoSang, TJB’s partner and life-time sponsor, of Caribbean Food Delights, spoke of their steadfast support for the program. Sponsors Western Union, LIME, UJAA and Tower Isle Patties all brought messages of support.

David Squeeze Annakie, with his power brands, Linkup Media, 93.5 FM WVIP) and BioLife Energy Systems, made an unexpected but much welcomed boost to Team Jamaica Bickle at the organization’s annual reception and awards, presenting them with a $11,000 check to help in its drive to fund its Penn Relays 2012 operations. TJB’s big push for 2012 is to raise upwards of $60,000 to help defray accommodation costs for the athletes, reducing the per night rate per student to $50 from the prevailing $110 per night…a more than 50 percent cut.

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and we thank the community whole heartedly. It was indeed a special evening as we celebrate the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence,” said Irwine Clare.
Team Jamaica Bickle, Inc. has supported dozens of athletes and athletic programs for the past 17 years. Currently, TJB services extend to a delegation of approximately 750 Athletes, coaches and volunteers from Jamaica; other Caribbean countries (which includes Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent & The Grenadines), as well as from the USA.

In 1999, Team Jamaica Bickle became the first Jamaican organization to be a participating sponsor at the Penn Relays, thus allowing us to partner with our corporate friends. As a result, the Jamaican flag became the first foreign nation’s flag to be flown at the Penn Relays, a distinction unmatched. Over the years, TJB has received several proclamations and awards from numerous local and national entities.

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