Poor organisation mars Queen's/Jackson meet

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Sunday, January 29, 2012

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IN the midst of the debut of several of Jamaicas's leading athletes, there was an air of discontent among the high school contingent at the 11th Queen's/Grace Jackson meet at the National Stadium yesterday.


As the meet ran more than two hours behind schedule, organisers were forced to interrupt several events to allow the elite athletes to race, while student-athletes sat in the scorching sun along the cycle track for more than an hour awaiting their event, despite having already warmed up.


"This is foolishness and this is not the first year they're doing this. It gets worse every year," Kingston College coach Hamden Pagon told the Sunday Observer.


"Last year certain events didn't run at all and we still had to pay $150 per athlete and we didn't get a refund," Pagon added.


Calabar coach Michael Clarke told the Sunday Observer he was waiting to see the purpose of the interruption, but admitted he would still allow his athletes to compete.


Jamaica College, however, made the decision to withdraw at least one athlete from the Class Two Boys 200m because of the extended delay.


The majority of the Wolmer's Boys' cadre was noticeably absent, except for the 400m athletes, and head coach David Riley told the Sunday Observer he did not want to risk his Class Three long jump athletes not qualifying for Boys Champs and therefore took the decision to go to STETHS where they were more likely to finish. This is because in 2011 some events were not completed.


In addition, the Girls and Boys 200m were scheduled to be run alternately by class; instead, all the Girls races had been running back-to-back.


This meant the boys who had been warming up for a race scheduled to begin at 9:30 am did not run until at least an hour later.


It was also compounded by the fact that the meet began almost an hour behind its 8:30 am scheduled start.


Meet director Bruce James told the Sunday Observer the call room had made the unanimous decision to send all the female athletes concurrently, but he had directed them to go according to the schedule once he discovered the problem.


Meanwhile, organising committee chairman Olive McNaughton said the coaches were as much to blame when at close to 3:00 pm only one event had been run.


"The same coaches who are complaining are the ones causing the problem when they send nine athletes to compete in one event," she said.


McNaughton said schools had a limit of three athletes per class per event, but were registering athletes in excess of that.


This meant that although the organisers had planned for 15 heats in one 200m, there were as many as 26.


Meanwhile, Olympic Games 400m silver medallist Shericka Williams of MVP broke her meet record in claiming the women's 200m Open.


Williams was in good form, taking the lead off the bend and pulling away from her teammate, Olympic intermediate hurdles champion Melaine Walker, to win in 23.12 seconds (-0.4 m/s), lowering her 23.69 set in 2008.


Walker was second in 23.46, while Racers athlete Shereefa Lloyd was third in 23.65.


2006 World Junior Championships 100m bronze medallist Carrie Russell looked encumbered as she struggled into fourth.


Edino Steele of Racers left it late, pulling ahead of Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Michael Frater in the final 30 metres to capture the men's 200m in 21.23 (-0.6m/s).


Frater was edged on the line and finished third in 21.54 behind Rusheen McDonald, 21.53.


Sherone Simpson looked in outstanding form as she came close to her personal best (51.25) to win the women's 400m in 51.42 seconds ahead of MVP teammate Anneisha McLaughlin, 51.89, and Nickeisha Wilson, 53.94.


Olympic 100m champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed her heat in 55.72 seconds.


Allodin Fothergill took the Men's equivalent in 47 seconds ahead of Isaac Makwala, 47.37, and Sheldon Mitchell, 47.76.


Rayan Lawrence of MVP claimed the 800m Open in 1:54.00, while Michael Mason of Sprint Tec posted 1:55.58 for second. Melard Brown, 1:55.86, was third.


Calabar's Michael O'Hara clocked 22.56 to take the Class Two Boys 200m ahead of Odane Bernard of Donald Quarrie and Seanie Selvin, both in 22.81.


In the Girls section, Kimberley Leach of Wolmer's won in 25.2 as Okalia Buchanan was second in 25.5 and Safiah Thompson of St Jago third in a similar time.


Jodean Williams of St Mary claimed the Class One Girls race in 24.2secs, followed by Kimberley Golding, 25.0, and Chrisdale McCarthy 25.3.






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