National Junior Championships begins today

National Junior Championships begins today

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Saturday, June 15, 2013

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The finals of the 100 metres in all four age groups will highlight today's first day of the two-day JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Junior Championships set to start at the National Stadium at 11:00 am.

The event is being held to select teams to take part at the IAAF World Youth Championships (WYC) in the Ukraine in July, and the Pan-American Championships set for Colombia in late August. It promises to be another competitive meet.

The WYC is for Under-18 athletes, while the Pan-Am Games caters for those in the Under-20 age group.

Based on results from the various All-Comers meets put on by the JAAA over the last month, and the IAAF rankings, Jamaica is expected to field competitive teams at both events.

Jamaican athletes are ranked in first place in five events across the world junior and youths rankings up to yesterday.

Twenty-nine events are down to be decided today, 15 on the track and 14 in the field, and it is expected that the 100m will hold most attention.

The heats and finals of the 400m hurdles will also be held today, as well as the heats of the 400m and the 5,000m for Under-20 boys and the 3,000m for the Under-20 girls and Under-18 boys.

In the field, all four discus events will be held, both girls triple jumps; both Under-18 high jumps and all four javelin finals.

Despite Jamaicans holding all major male 100m titles from youths through to the Olympics and World Championships not so long ago, only Calabar's Michael O'Hara is ranked in the 100m and 200m, and he will start favourite to win the boys Under-18 final today.

He is also ranked on a third list on the youth rankings in the 110m hurdles, but the Jamaica selectors will have to decide which two individual events he will contest in the Ukraine next month.

The Under-18 girls' 100m should also be interesting with the Wolmer's Girls' pair of Shauna Helps and Jonielle Smith, who are both ranked on the IAAF list, up against Carifta Games Under-17 champion Nattaliah Whyte of St Jago.

The heats of the 400m will attract a lot of attention with man of the moment Javon Francis, who has dropped from first to third place on the IAAF junior rankings, in action as well as youth leader Devaughn Baker in the Under-18 section against Jaheel Hyde and Martin Manley, who are both ranked in the top four as well.

Kingston College's Omar McLeod leads the rankings in both the 110m and 400m hurdles and will start favourite in the Under-18 events, while Edwin Allen's Camira Haughton is ranked in the female juniors section, and Andrenetta Knight of Vere Technical is ranked third in the girls' youth's rankings.

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