Blake vs Powell? J’can stars could clash at 5th UTech Classic

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

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WORLD Championships 100-metre champion Yohan Blake and former world record-holder Asafa Powell could come face-to-face at next Saturday’s fifth staging of the UTech Invitational Track and Field Classic at the National Stadium.



While not palpably declaring that the two Jamaican superstar sprinters would compete against each other at the meet being dubbed, the ‘UTech Classic of Clashes’, Paul Francis, meet manager, UTech Track and Field Organising Committee and UTech/MVP coach, intimated that that could be the case during an interview with RJR Sports yesterday.



"What I can tell you is that Racers have submitted their entries for the meet and Yohan Blake is the first name on the list... even in the individual 100, so obviously he will be running the 4X100 and then he will be running the flat 100 as well," he said.



Regarding Powell’s participation, Francis would only add: "He most certainly will be there, and competing."



However, despite billing the meet as one of rivalries and clashes, as well as the fact that Francis was only prepared to confirm Blake’s participation in the 100m and the 4X100 relays, there remains the possibility that the two could be kept apart at the meet if Powell were to compete in the 200m, slated for College and Invitational, and not the 100m or the 4X100m relays.



Richard Toomer, acting director of sport at UTech, and co-chair of the UTech Track and Field Classic Organising Committee, steered clear of naming any specific athlete in any clashes, obviously fully aware of the problems which plagued the meet a few years ago when star athletes were advertised to perform, but failed to show up on the day, leading to the intervention of the Fair Trading Commission.



"We are expecting the best athletes from the top teams, MVP, Racers, Swept, Sprint Tech, Akon and other top clubs in Jamaica," he said. He identified some of the MVP athletes as Powell, Kaliese Spencer, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Sherone Simpson, among those expected to participate on the day.



Toomer reiterated that he couldn’t guarantee the presence of any particular top name athlete, but said his organisation had got a "commitment from the clubs" that their best athletes would compete.



The near five-hour meet will get underway with an Opening Ceremony at 4:00 pm and conclude at 8:50 pm with the 4X400m relays for men and women, College and Invitational.



Teams, universities and clubs are expected from Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Colombia, with individuals coming in from the USA, Barbados and Botswana.



"This will be a meet of clashes at all level and ages," Toomer noted, before adding that this meet would help to provide the teams heading off to the annual Penn Relays in the USA with much needed preparation.



He said that some of the best high school teams have been invited, and already Wolmer’s Boys’ have accepted the invitation, with Calabar, KC and JC, among others expecting to accept as well.



The top prep schools will clash with the top primary schools (boys and girls), while the Jamaica Paralympians will get the chance to practise — possibly in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, as well as the shot put and javelin — for the Paralympic Games later this year in London, England.



MVP head coach Stephen Francis will be honoured at this year’s meet, which will see admission prices as follows: Grandstand - $700, and Bleachers - $200.


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