Francis, O'Hara spectacle highlights Douglas Forrest Meet

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Sunday, January 12, 2014    

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JAVON Francis, the 2013 World Championship 4x400m silver medallist and winner of the People's Choice Performance of the Year, was humbled by World Youth 200m champion Michael O'Hara, who broke the Class I 200m record at the Douglas Forrest meet at the National Stadium yesterday.

Francis, who won the 400m at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championship last year, took on his more accomplished 200m teammate, last season's Class II champion O'Hara, who has stepped up in class.

O'Hara was the more focused of the two runners and won in 21.29 seconds ahead of Francis in 21.33 seconds. Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk had a cakewalk in his heat three, cruising home in 22.08

seconds for the third fastest time overall.

But with both Calabar High star athletes drawn in heat eight of the Class I 200m, O'Hara, in lane six, and Francis, in lane two, the National Stadium was buzzing with excitement.

It was O'Hara who flew out of the blocks with his natural 100m speed, but Francis got into top gear, ran a powerful bend and joined his teammate early in the straight, but just when his quarter-mile strength should prevail, he looked across on O'Hara and seemed to have relaxed a bit, which resulted in a narrow loss.

It was a very good time by O'Hara so early in the season and with Minzie and Zarnel Hughes, the Carifta and Pan Am Junior 100m champion in the Kingston College ranks, the sprints are expected to take centre stage later in the season.

Hughes from Anguilla twice recorded victories over both Jazeel Murphy and Minzie last season.

Meanwhile, on a day when Calabar High came out strong in an effort to qualify as many athletes as possible, they dominated the 200m in all classes.

Tyreke Wilson, who played second fiddle to the outstanding Jevaughn Matherson last season, broke the record for the Class III event in 22.73 seconds. It was a clean sweep by Calabar, as Christopher Taylor won in 23.71, and Dejour Russell recorded 23.79 in their heats.

In Class II, Calabar had the two fastest times with Aykeeme Francis stopping the clock at 22.81 ahead of his teammate Anthony Carpenter in 22.93. Brandon Robinson of Camperdown was third fastest in 22.95.

In the field, Warren Barrett Jnr of Cornwall College, continued his good early season form breaking the Class II shot put record with a throw of 17.09m. The son of former Reggae Boyz goalkeeper and captain Warren Barrett Snr, was well clear of Calabar's Shavan Burke with 14.49m.

Calabar swept the podium in the Class I discus with Andre Beckford winning with 49.31m ahead of Basil Bingham with 48.65, and Ronald Hasting third with 47.83m.

In the men's discus open, Frederick Dacres turned the tables on last week's conqueror Chad Wright. Dacres won with 58.91m with Wright second with 57.02m.

Hydel High showed up good in the girls' 200 metres winning three of the four classes. Jada Martin did 26.19 to capture the Class IV, while Shaniel English ran 25.49 for Class III honours. Britaney Duncan won the Class I event in 25.32.

St Catherine's Shian Hyde spoiled the Hydel party, capturing the Class II event in 24.81 seconds ahead of the Hydel pair of Taqece Duggan in 24.98 and Semoy Hemmings in 25.24 seconds.

Britaney Duncan had earlier broken the 400m hurdles open record with 1.01.22 seconds ahead of the Vere Technical pair of Shanice Clarke and Andrenette Knight in 1.01.26 and 1.04.53 seconds, respectively.





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