Calabar confident of defending boys title

Friday, March 21, 2014    

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A 24th hold on the Mortimer Geddes trophy for the ISSA Boys' Championship is well on the cards for Calabar High who have been deemed firm favourites to retain their title.

With 23 titles under their belts, Calabar, or 'Rabalac', as they are called, is aiming to close the gap on KC's 31 titles, but will have to do so with a fight.

Romario McKenzie, the brother of Ramone 'Batman' McKenzie, who starred for Calabar a few years ago, is expected to lead his school's charge, where he is expected to garner crucial points in the Class One sprints. He is full of confidence that 'Rabalac' will retain their title.

"This is the holy grail of schoolboy track and field in this part of the hemisphere," noted McKenzie, who has been doing well in the 100m, 200m and 400m. "Preparation has been going well and I am confident in my team and I believe we can bring it home. It will stay here take my word for it," said the Calabar team captain.

But why not, he should be confident because the boys from Red Hills Road have won the last two titles, gaining 299 points last year, turning back Jamaica College with 258.5 and their rivals Kingston College with 247.5.

Damani Stewart, assistant coach in charge of the 400m, 200m and the hurdles, said the record-breaking performance witnessed at Gibson Relays from Calabar, will be repeated at Champs.

"I am pleased with the performances at Gibson Relays and we are expected to do well at Champs. It's an enormous job but the boys are training very hard and they do things that we never expected from them in terms of training, preparation and education," he pointed out.

"We break records at Gibson Relays and we break records at Central Champs, but I do believe we will break records at Champs. Apart from that, we have to put out 100 per cent to make our fans proud," he added.

Although Calabar have arguably the best all-round team, it will take some brilliant individual performances to lift them, and World Youth 200m champion, Michael O'Hara is expected to be one of those persons.

"I feel very well about Boys' Champs this year. Our team is well rounded and we are training hard. Kingston College look like they are coming with a fight, but it will come back to Red Hills Road. We are the best of the best," said O'Hara who is expected to have a battle royal in the sprints against Zharnel Hughes of KC, Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk High and even his teammate, Javon Francis in what is touted to be the hottest 200m in decades.

But despite the presence of KC, JC and St Jago, Calabar are tipped to secure yet another Champs title.





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