... after 3 finals today
DEFENDING Class One long jump champion Keneil Grant of Kingston College had to work hard to get through qualifying on yesterday's opening day of the 103rd ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.
Grant fouled his first two attempts before landing a clean effort of 6.82m to join 11 other qualifiers for today's final set to start at 5.55 pm.
Julaine Walker, of defending boys' champions Calabar High, leads the qualifiers with a mark of 7.10m, while Kingston College's Clive Pullen was next with 6.93m, St George's College's Carlington Moulton got to 6.91m on his final jump, and Jamaica College's Nicholas Phinn also achieved 6.82m in the first of the two flights.
Grant, who is hoping to lead a repeat quinella after he and Pullen took the first two places last year, told the Jamaica Observer he was relaxed going into his final effort.
"There was no pressure on me to qualify, the wind was fluctuating on my first two jumps and messed up my marker, but I was always confident I would qualify."
The Boys' Class One long jump is one of three finals set for today, including the long jump Class Two and the steeplechase Open.
There will also be the preliminaries in the discus Class One starting at 8:30 am, followed by 800m prelims in all classes, 200m in all classes, high jump Class Three, 400m hurdles Open, and the 4x100m relays.
The first five events of the decathlon Open will also be held today; 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400m run.
Kingston College, meanwhile, were well set to take the lead after today's three finals, qualifying athletes in more events than defending champions Calabar High after yesterday's first day
The first round of all three boys' sprint hurdles events were scrapped because of insufficient entries and the athletes will advance to Friday's semi-finals.
Campion College's Lorne Barrett leapt 6.64m to lead the Class Two long jump, qualifying from the second flight just ahead of St Jago's Roje Jackson-Chin's 6.61m from the first round, and Cornwall College's Alrick Ottey's personal best of 6.60m.
Kingston College's Shammawi Wellington with 6.59m and Cornwall College's Western Championships gold medallist Odain Lewis with 6.56m are also well placed.
Kingston College's Zaavan Richards leads the qualifiers in the javelin Open with a throw of 54.38m in yesterday's qualifying, followed by St Elizabeth Technical's Devon Spencer, the Western Championships joint record holder with 52.14m, while Orlando Thomas of Bridgeport High, the bronze medallist last year, qualified with 51.34m.
The final is set for 1:30 pm on Saturday.
Rodney Henry of Holmwood Technical leads the qualifying for this evening's 2,000m steeple- chase final after winning his first round heat in 6 minutes, 13.76 seconds, leading Bellefield High's Winston Freeman (6 minutes, 15.40 seconds), and Jamaica College's Kamoy Blake (6 minutes, 15.56 seconds).
Calabar failed to get even one runner into the final, while Kingston College placed two, albeit with slower times well behind the top athletes.