|Victor Lopez: “The atmosphere is real good, the people here are very warm, the stadium will be packed tomorrow (23 May),” he said, promising that great music will be a part of the meet.|
By Anthony Foster in Puerto Rico
Victor Lopez, director of the Ponce Grand Prix, promised a great atmosphere for Saturday’s 9th meeting here in Ponce, Puerto Rico (Video Below).
Lopez, who is also president of the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Association, also welcomed athletes to Ponce at today’s Press Conference.
“We really respect and admire your dedication to come to Ponce,” he said at the gathering, on Friday while adding, “Ponce is a beautiful city as a matter of fact, Puerto Rico is a paradise, and we are glad that you are here.”
“The atmosphere is real good, the people here are very warm, the stadium will be packed tomorrow (23 May),” he said, promising that great music will be a part of the meet.
“The spectators will be involved in the action to give you that extra to compete,” he also told the athletes.
Lopez said last year “we had some of the best marks in the world with LaShawn (Merritt) running 44.11 and Santos behind him.”
“I’m so glad to see Jeremy (Wariner) coming back,” he added.
Americans Merritt, the World Champion and former World and Olympic champion Wariner, Dom Rep’s Luguelin Santos, the 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio, the World Junior Champion and second fastest man this year at 44.36, will face-off in a super men’s 400m dash.
Lopez also took the time to say thanks to the sponsors, especially the IAAF, who he said, “have Ponce as one of the best meetings.”
The Mayor of Ponce Maria Meléndez also welcomed the athletes while telling them “Ponce is not one of the best cities in the world, it’s the best one.”
“We have a saying that says ‘Ponce is Ponce and the rest is parking’ and I also believe Ponce is Ponce but it’s also friends and blessings,” said the head of Government of Ponce.
Also in attendance, were Alberto Juantorena, who won the 1976 Montreal Olympics 400 and 800m in then world record times, and Russian Athletics Federation General Secretary Mikhai BUTOV.