Staff Report
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007 3:00 am

GREENSBORO -- N.C. A&T's Irwin Belk Track will be the site of another major event when the National Junior Olympic track and field championships come to town in 2009.

The meet will run for six days in late July that year. More than 7,000 athletes from across the country are expected to compete. Junior Olympic competition is in five two-year age groups up to age 18. Next year's meet will be at Omaha, Neb.

This is one of the best and largest track and field events any city could hope to host, Henri Fourrier, president of the Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Tuesday in a release. We estimate the economic impact to be almost $17 million, which will rank this sporting event right up at the top of the most important events Greensboro has ever hosted.

Lionel Leach, chair of USA Track and Field's national youth committee, said Belk Track is one of the best facilities on the East Coast.

Since it opened in 2003, A&T's track has been the site of a number of major events, including the state high school championships, the NCAA East Region meet in 2006 and the USATF junior qualifier in 2005. The Nike Outdoor Nationals, one of the nation's most competitive high school meets, returns for its third run June 14-16, 2008.

Fourrier said the Junior Olympics will certainly raise the awareness of Greensboro as a destination for track and field events.