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Chad Wright Breaks Record

Chad Wright of Calabar High School breaks the record for Boys Discus Throw Class 1 with a distance of 52.16mq beating his rival Travis Smikle of Calabar High School who had a distance of 42.74mq.
 

The excitement builds - Day one of the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Championships

By: Kimesha Walters
With the sun gradually rising on the grounds of the National Stadium in Kingston, activities started to increase. At the entrance of the stadium, the security guards usher each patron inside where they are searched along with their belongings. The atmosphere is cool, and vendors already have pots on fire, and as the smoke gradually rises, they make last minute changes to their stalls, fixing snacks and drinks, and other wares.
 
At the entrance to Grandstand, about a dozen people are anxiously waiting to go in, eager for the day’s activities to begin. But as they wait they feast their eyes upon the many colourful GraceKennedy banners-Chillin, Tropical Rhythms, Grace Vienna Sausage, Grace Blends among others, all  a subtle reminder of the Company’s commitment to the Boys’ and Girls’ Championships.
 
It was a feeling of awe upon entering the stadium as each person was greeted by the soothing Reggae music. And as the time drew closer for the first event, the #1 Boys Heptathlon, more people began to appear.
 
Representatives from each school sat in different groups, as athletes were busy preparing for the heptathlon, long jump and discus preliminary events which are to follow.  While several activities are taking place, one thing is clear, each person is focused on what is happening, as athletes and onlookers alike show that they are at the Boys’ and Girls” Championships—their goals different, but their intentions are clear, and nothing or no-one will break their concentration.  
 
Chillin-The official drink of ISSA GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girl’s Championship 2010

 

Fierce Battle For Champs

he island's top junior athletes will be on show today and over the next four days at the National Stadium for the centenary celebrations of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships.

Dubbed Champs 100, the meet has attracted just under 3,000 athletes comprising 113 boys' and 109 girls' teams.

Competition over the four days is expected to be fierce. Defending boys' champions Kingston College (KC), the winningest school in the history of the championships, will have to dig deep to beat back challenges from arch rivals Calabar High, Wolmer's Boys - the first champions in 1910 - and Jamaica College (JC), the dominant school in inter-secondary athletics until KC, the famed 'purples' from North Street, reeled off 14 consecutive victories from 1962-1975. KC will be seeking their 32nd lien on the championship trophy, while Calabar are eyeing their 22nd.

The battle for the girls' crown will again be between the mid-island schools which took the top two spots last year, Holmwood Technical, who are seeking their eighth title in a row and Edwin Allen High, still hunting their first.

Yesterday the coaches of both girls' schools were very upbeat ahead of four days of hectic organisation.

Holmwood's Maurice Wilson was confident that his girls would remain champions come Saturday night.

"It may not be a pretty performance but we are going to win. Once we start out on a good footing we should be okay. I am expecting the team to get better as the meet progresses," Wilson said.

The Holmwood coach, who said he was away from the team for a 'couple of weeks', admitted that there was some panic at his school after a below par performance at the recent Central Championships, which saw Edwin Allen topping the girls' section, but that was now behind them.

"... I am not too sure what the panic was about. I personally believe the only way we can be defeated (at Champs) is if our athletes do not perform according to the standard that we expect them to perform," Wilson added.

Victory

To achieve victory, Wilson will be looking to his Class One and Class Three girls. In Class Three he can call on the outstanding Chris-Ann Gordon, who won the 400-800m double in the class last year. She clocked 52.68 seconds for the 400m and could challenge the record 52.52 set by another Holmwood athlete, Anneisha McLaughlin, in 2001.

Edwin Allen finished on 203 points, 196.5 behind Holmwood's tally of 400.5 last year. It is a steep mountain to climb but coach Michael Dyke thinks his team is more rounded this year.

"We still have the Tracey sisters (Nikita and Ristananna), who should do very well and we have gone into more events than we entered last year. We also have stronger competitors in most of the other events," Dyke said yesterday.

Dyke expects to get most of his points in Class One and to do well all-round in the hurdles events.

According to him, the favourites' tag which many Champs watchers have pinned on his team, will not exert any extra pressure.

"We are going out there to perform as best as we can," he said.

While Holmwood were runaway girls' champions, the supporters of the top two boys' teams endured a very tense final evening last year. The lead changed on several occasions before KC edged their rivals by just 1.5 points, 223.5 to 222. It could again be anybody's race.

KC's head coach, Michael Russell, echoed those sentiments at the weekend, while saying that his boys were ready and raring to go.

"I see it being just as close as last year. ... Every team has lost a certain number of athletes who would have garnered some amount of points and based on the points spread we see it just about even," Russell said.

The KC coach expects strong performances in all three classes. KC have been strong in field events in recent years, but Russell predicts that things will change at this year's meet.

"More people are focussing on the field events and points will be shared among a number of schools," Russell told The Gleaner.

Calabar's head coach, Michael Clarke, honoured by the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) earlier this year as one of the outstanding Champs coaches, also expects a close meet.

"The winning margin might be even half-a-point," Clarke said.

According to Clarke, there are some injury concerns but the school is managing them fairly well.

Calabar's coach expects his field event athletes to perform very well.

"Field events are where our thrust for championships is this year. We have decent throwers, jumpers and pole vaulters, so it should be pretty interesting," he concluded.

Championship honours

While the top schools are chasing championship honours, a number of athletes from other schools are expected to perform very well. Bellefield High's Kemoy Campbell will be chasing records in the middle distances, so too Natoya Goule from Manchester High.

St Hugh's Candecia Bernard will also be trying to better her national junior record in the Class One girls' discus and to repeat her Carifta Trials shot put, discus double.

Three finals, girls' triple jump open and discus Class One and boys' Class One long jump, are down to be contested today.

Bernard is a cinch for the discus while Wolmer's Kamal Fuller is the hot favourite for the boys' Class One long jump gold. St Elizabeth Technical's Rochelle Farquharson is the odds on favourite for the girls' triple jump open.
 

No Champs Fêtes

ALL FETES and marches planned for next weekend's Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships have been banned by the police as part of their plan to stem the violence associated with one of the most popular events in Jamaica.

"We have decided to ban all pre- and post-Champs fêtes and also marches. This is an attempt to ensure that we reduce opportunities for violence," explained acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds.

Hinds said the police were aware of a number of occurrences which took place recently involving students from several Corporate Area high schools.

He said some of these incidents only came to the attention of the police yesterday.

Hinds did not give details of the happenings and would not name the schools involved.

However, he said all of this has "given us the view that we need to take action to at least prevent these incidents from going into Champs".

The police used a similar strategy last year without any official announcement. Some police officers believe this led to the reduced incidence of violence then.
 

Bridgeport's Jazeel Murphy.

Bridgeport's Jazeel Murphy.

Bridgeport HIGH'S Jazeel Murphy is the fastest 15-year-old athlete this year.

Murphy, who hails from Spanish Town, St Catherine, ran a blistering 10.42 seconds to win the Boys Under-17 100m at the CARIFTA Trials at Stadium East recently, leaving in his wake second-place runner, Munroe College's Adam Cummings, 10.75, and Wolmer's Boys third-place athlete, Odean Skeen, 10.78. The victory margin was 0.33 seconds, which is quite impressive for a sprint.

Murphy's time was 0.11 seconds faster than the 10.53 seconds which Kemar Bailey-Cole of Old Harbour High to win the Under-20 boys' final. Murphy ran 22.54 seconds in the 200m final, in -5.1 m/s wind to complete the sprint double.

Murphy's achievement is somewhat mind-blowing, since he is still learning the techniques of sprinting. His coach, Carl Page, said he can run even faster. "I think he can run faster. He has more in him because he slowed down to beat his chest, with about five metres to go in the 100m race." Coach Page said Murphy's only weakness is his start. "He needs to work on his start because he had to run and catch his main competitors, but he still won easily," he said.

Murphy will be in pole position, at Boys' and Girls' championships at the National Stadium from April 1-4. The CARIFTA Games record of 10.34, set by Herbert Morrison's Dexter Lee in 2007, is in danger of being broken, so too is the Boys Champs Class Two record of 10.34, set by super sprinter Yohan Blake in 2006.
(Courtesy of www.jamaica-star.com )
   

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