Sport

Francis leads top runners in qualifying

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014    

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A sparkling 48.72 seconds run by Calabar High's Christopher Taylor to break the one-year-old boys' Class Three 400m record in yesterday's first round highlighted the otherwise low-keyed first day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

With no points being on offer during yesterday's preliminary rounds and first round of qualifying in the field events, teams took the opportunity to place athletes in finals and semi-finals as the points accumulation gets under way today with six finals, three each for boys and girls.

The finals to be contested today are two boys' long jump classes one and two, 2,000m steeple chase open, and the girls' discus throw Class One, shot put Class Two, and 2,000m steeple chase.

Taylor's run overshadowed his more famous teammate Javon Francis, who started his quest to retain his Class One 400m title and break Usain Bolt's 45.25 seconds set in 2003, with an easy win in his heat.

Brandon Heath will be hoping to make it a one-two finish for Calabar in Saturday's final of the Class Three 400m after clocking an easy-looking 50.61 seconds to win the third heat ahead of St Jago High's Gary Gordon in 51.04 seconds.

Other winners in yesterday's heats were Travis Williams of Gaynstead High; St Jago's Javad Black, Brandon Bryan of Dinthill Technical; and Kingston College's Kadez Sutherland.

Bann was more relaxed in his first round heat in Class Two, establishing a 20-metre lead before shutting down to cruise home in 49.49 seconds ahead of Seaforth High's Raphael Walker in 50.86 seconds.

Calabar's Anthony Carpenter, the bronze medallist in Class Three last year, also clocked 49.49 seconds to win his first round heat, but Petersfield High's Devaughn Ellington ran the fastest time of the first round, clocking 49.07 seconds.

The Western Champs silver medallist came off the curve in second place before easing past Wolmer's Boys' Emile Smalling on his way to a new personal best time.

Kingston College's Dontre Williams, St Elizabeth Technical's Leonardo Ledgister, Calabar High's Aykeeme Francis and Manchester High's Carlo Heath were the other runners to go under 50 seconds in the heats, as another St Elizabeth Technical runner, Leroy Francis who ran 50.47 seconds, also won his heat.

In Class One, Francis was an easy winner in his heat, running 48.04 seconds, barely breaking a sweat and beating a hard-chasing Colin Sewell of Titchfield High, who ran 48.24 seconds.

Manchester High's Lennox Williams, who was second to Francis last year, was the fastest qualifier with 47.65 seconds, while St Jago's Nathon Allen also ran under 48 seconds, clocking 47.57 seconds to win his heat.

Tacky High's Davion Reid, who was second to Williams, ran 48.13 seconds, while Vere Technical's Twayne Crooks won his heat in 48.15 seconds.

The St Elizabeth Technical pair of Okeen Williams and Robin Black won their heats, while Kemps Hill's Marco Doodnaughtsingh celebrated his selection to the Carifta team by winning his heat in 48.21 seconds.

Edwin Allen's Michane Ricketts lead the qualifiers in the boys' long jump going into this afternoon's final after jumping 7.24m (-2.0m/s) in yesterday's qualifying heats.

Jamaica College's Ajani James (7.20m); Mannings' Ajamu Graham with a personal best 7.17m, the same mark as Wolmer's Boys' Javier O'Gilvie; and Kingston College's Sharlanjo Nelson were the only jumpers to go over 7.00m.

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