Sport

A Champs to remember

Breathtaking runs, sublime jumps and leaps, tears of sorrow and joy

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 04, 2014    

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TWENTY-ONE new records and some close misses highlighted the quality of the competition at last week's 104th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

But while the number of records was less than last year's 30, the arguments are that the overall quality of the performance in 2014 was superior.

If it's one thing sports fans love to do is argue and compare performers from different eras and time and there are a number of performances from last week that will be argued for years to come.

Holmwood Technical's Tamara Moncrieffe's name will not appear on the record list from this year, but her 13.51m with virtually no wind (0.9m/s) in the triple jump on Friday's fourth morning, missing Kimberly Williams' record of 13.52m set in 2007, was as close as you could get without breaking a record.

At the very top of the list of those who surpassed previous marks, will be Wolmer's boys' Jaheel Hyde's sublime 49.49 seconds to set a new National Junior Record in the boys' Open 400m hurdles as he dismissed two of the best, not just in Jamaica, but globally in their age groups.

Marvin Williams of St Elizabeth Technical, who was well back in second place in 51.18 seconds, won the gold medal at last year's IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine while Okeen Williams also of STETHS had gone into that final as the favourite before hitting a hurdle and falling.

Hyde the second fastest sprint hurdler in the youth age group after he ran 13.13 seconds last year to win the World Youth gold medal and who also won the Class One 110m hurdles at Champs, smashed the 49.98 seconds set by Omar McLeod running for Kingston College last year.

His Wolmer's Boys teammate Christoffe Bryan, the Word Youth bronze medallist, shows he is still improving after clearing 2.23m to break the Class One high jump record on Saturday's pressure packed evening, but was jumping all by himself with the silver medallist falling out after 2.13m.

Also close, if not at the very top, for most would be the irrepressible Calabar Lion Javon Francis' 45.00 seconds to break Usain Bolt's 45.35 seconds record set in 2003.

Francis, who ran his way into Jamaica's track history in Moscow at last year's IAAF World Championships with his fearless anchor leg in the men's 4x400m, taking Jamaica from fifth to second, was never matched or challenged as his long strides ate up the track and by 250m had covered the entire field.

For the throwers there were three records to savour. Firstly, Cornwall College's Warren Barrett's 18.18m in the Class Two event; Edwin Allen's Rochelle Frazer, who surpassed the previous mark of 13.00m set by Gleneve Grange of Holmwood last year four times on her way to the new 13.70m mark; while STETHS' Devon Spencer added over three-and-half metres to the javelin Open record with a 64.08m effort.

Barrett, who also won the discus to win Cornwall College's first gold medal in 20 years, was the first Class Two thrower who used the spin technique to win the event, obliterating the 17.41m set by Ashinia Miller of Calabar High in 2009.

Frazer systematically increased the girls Class One record adding to it almost every round.

Speed is king in Jamaica and there was no shortage as Anguillan Zharnel Hughes, running for Kingston College, and Bog Walk High's Jevaughn Minzie, ensured the fastest ever Class One 100m race ever at Champs as both went under Yohan Blake's 10.21 seconds srecord set in 2007.

Hughes, who had established himself with back-to-back Carifta Games Under-20 boys 100m gold and Pan-Am Juniors gold last year, was smooth as ice as he ran 10.12 seconds with perennial bridesmaid Minzie getting home in 10.16 seconds, the fastest Jamaican ever at Champs.

St Jago High's Raheem Chambers' 10.29 seconds in Class Two smashed a second Blake record within minutes of each other, as Blake's 10.34 seconds record set in 2006 is now history.

Calabar's Tyreke Wilson ran a mind-boggling 21.72 seconds in Class Three for the 200m, passing the 21.87 seconds set by Kingston College's Jhevaughn Matherson last year.

Arguably even more impressive was Mellicia Gordon's 10.49 seconds in the Class Four girls 70m hurdles running into a negative 3.1 metres per second wind to break the 21-year-old record of 10.50 seconds set in 1993 by Tulia Robinson of Manchester High.

Five sprint relay records were rewritten on Friday night, with the Calabar High quartet of Edward Clarke, Michael O'Hara, Jullane Walker and Seanie Selvin, who clocked 39.35 seconds -- the same time run by a UTech team in February at Milo Western Relays and the 10th fastest in the world so far this year.

Calabar's Class Three 4x100m team of Tyreke Wilson, Christopher Taylor, Brandon Heath and Dejour Russell lowered the time to 41.81 seconds from the 42.36 seconds set last year by Kingston College.

Edwin Allen's Class One girls ran a smart 44.17 seconds, joint 11th in the world on the IAAF lists with a team from Louisiana State University.

While not as fast as the 3:07.00 minutes ran by a Calabar team at the Gibson Relays a month earlier, St Jago showed they are not to be ignored with a smart 3:08.31 to hold off a fast-finishing STETHS team in the boys Open 4x400m relays.

The 2,000m steeple chase has only been contested for three years at Champs and Holmwood Technical's Obrian Frith is the first Jamaican schoolboy to go under the six-minute mark when he ran 5:59.70 seconds to win the gold.

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