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News Americas, PHILADELPHIA, PA, Mon. May 1, 2023: As has become a norm, Jamaican athletes again shone brightly at the 2023 Penn Relays even as Jamaican group, Team Jamaica Bickle, was itself shining off field.

The stunner on the field this year was Hydel High School of Jamaica, which won its first-ever Penn Relays double. The Corey Bennet-coached team claimed victory in the High School Girls’ 4×100-m and 4×400-m Championship of America races. Hydel won the 4×100-m for the first time and retained the 4×400-m crown.

Holmwood Technical won the High School Girls’ 4x100m International final in 46.81 seconds.

Jamaica College and KC claimed the High School Boys’ 4×100 and 4×400 Championship of America titles.

TEAM JAMAICA BICKLE

For the first time, Team Jamaica Bickle, which was founded 29 years ago by Jamaican immigrant, Irwine Clare, Sr. OD, to provide support services for Caribbean athletes, particularly Jamaicans, who compete at the annual Penn Relays, was housed in the Palestra at the University of the Pennsylvania, nicknamed the “Cathedral of College Basketball.”

The Palestra was built in 1927, acquiring its name from the Greek term “palæstra.”

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Team Jamaica Bickle’s founder, Irwine Clare, Sr., OD and athletes and volunteers in the Palestra at the University of the Pennsylvania for Penn Relays 2023 and the Labor of Love TJB 2023 presentation. (TJB image)

“It’s a significant step for Team Jamaica Bickle and as we continue to support our athletes and our ambassadors,” Clare told News Americas Monday. “It’s courtesy of over two decades of relationships and the officials at Penn understand our presence and our importance and have said they look forward to hosting us again next year.”

This year Clare said they hosted over 550 athletes and officials, providing support with accommodation, transportation and ‘bickle’ or meals daily from April 28 to April 30th.

While the majority of athletes served continue to be Jamaicans, Clare said athletes from St. Vincent and Belize athletes were also supported this year.

“This has been one of our most successful year, from volunteers to financial donations and deliverables,” Clare added. “From the University of Pennsylvania stepping up to support us, to the Consulate General of Jamaica in New York, and over 150 professional volunteers in New York’s tri-state and Pennsylvania giving of their time to Jamaican, Caribbean and even an Italian restaurant, that provided breakfast lunch and dinner for all athletes over the three days, it has been remarkable.”

“It was a great look and presentation and a lot to build on as we march into TBJ 30,” added the group’s founder.

Top high school and college athletes from across the US and the Caribbean once again converge on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the University of Pennsylvania for the oldest and largest track and field competition in America from April 27th-29th.

This year’s class of inductees to the Penn Relays Wall of Fame included former St Jago High sprinter, Yohan Blake.

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