CATHERINE HALL, St James — The Jamaica team is ready to start the quest for a 26th straight title at the 40th Lime CARIFTA Games when the three-day event gets underway at the Montego Bay Sports Complex at 9:30 this morning.
There will be two sessions each day, the first starting at 9:30 am until midday, then the afternoon session starting at 4:00 and running until 10:30 each night.
The opening ceremony will be held this afternoon.
After a 90-minute training session yesterday, which focused mostly on relay changes, head coach Leacroft Bolt told the Observer that almost everything was in place for a good start.
"The vibes are good and we are ready to start the defence of our title," he said, adding that there was one injury concern, Kevaughn Robinson, who will run the 800m in the Under-17 class.
Bolt said the Foga Road student had reported a "niggling injury but we are working on it. Apart from that everything is OK and we are
While not wanting to get into any medal predictions, Bolt said the hopes was for "getting more medals and more quality than last year".
Jamaica won 37 gold, 22 silver and 13 bronze medals last year when the championships was held in the Cayman Islands.
The full complement of 26 countries will take part in the event after Belize made a belated entry. Belize had reported earlier they would not be taking part but had a change of mind and will line up among the other 25 nations seeking honours.
Twenty finals are scheduled to be completed on today's first day, including the 100m and 400m, 1,500m in all four age groups; both girls' shot put; the Under-17 girls' high jump; boys' Under-20 discus; boys' Under -17 javelin; boys' Under-17 triple jump; boys' Under-20 high jump and girls' Under-20 long jump.
The 100m sprints will be the highlights today and Jamaica will be hoping to improve on the two medals won last year, Odean Skeen's gold in the Under-17 boys and Channell Johnson's silver in the Under-17 girls.
Shauna Helps and Chanice Bonner will wear Jamaica's colours in the Under-17 girls', while Christania Williams, who missed Champs, and Deandre Whitehorne will race in the 17-19 age group.
Raheem Robinson and Jevaughn Minzie are the Jamaicans in the boys' Under-17, while Champs Class One winner Jazeel Murphy and Trials winner Kemar Bailey-Cole will seek honours among the boys' 17-19.
World Junior leader in the 400m Chris-Ann Gordon and The Bahamas' IAAF World Junior Championships Shaunae Miller should battle out the top two in the Under-20 400m where Olivia James will be Jamaica's second entrant.
Javere Bell, the Champs Class One winner and Trials winner Rusheen McDonald will be Jamaica's entrants in the boys' Under-20 400m, while Khadeesh Willis and Keneil Harrison will face Barbados' impressive Jerrad Mason in the Under-17 section.
Yanique McNeil and Kissi-Ann Brown will contest the girls' Under-17 400m for Jamaica.
Traves Smikle the third best junior discus thrower ever will seek to improve on his bronze medal from last year and has a world leading 66.88m set at Boys' Champs a month ago.
Kellion Knibb is the only Jamaican entry in the girls' Under-20 shot put; Gleneve Grange and Paul Ann Gayle will take part in the Under-17 shot put, while Nickeva Wilson and Shanice Porter will contest the Under-20 long jump where just four entrants are listed.
Grange will represent Jamaica in the girls' pentathlon after the coaches at Holmwood Technical had requested that last year's winner Janieve Russell not be entered in the multidisciplinary event
Jamaica will not be represented in the boys' heptathlon.
Alethia McLaughlin, who was fourth last year and Lisa Buchanan will contest the Under-17 girls' 1,500m, while Shantal Duncan and Taska Johnson are entered in the Under-20 section.
Fourteen-year-old Orville Dixon is the youngest entrant in the boys' Under-17 1,500m where he will join Herbert Thomas, while Orane Wint and Rogeek Rochester are in the Under-20 section.
Champs Class One winner Demar Robinson and Clive Pullen will contest the Under-20 boys' high jump.