Schoolboys continue to shine as Racers top guns bow into action

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Saturday, February 08, 2014

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DAEGU World Championships 100m champion Yohan Blake finished third in the 400m heat in 47.20 seconds in his first run after a long injury at the Camperdown Classic yesterday at the National Stadium.

Jamaica’s and Racer's quarter-miler Edino Steele won in an impressive 45.44 seconds ahead of Allodin Fothergill in 46.11 seconds. Warren Weir, who blew up in the straight, finished in 47.53 seconds for fourth place. But Blake was more than satisfied with his debut run after being out with a hamstring injury since last July. "It was really good.

I left myself back a little late and tried to run back, but I felt good," he told the Jamaica Observer after warming down.

"Physically, I am 50 per cent and if I am 50 looking that way…imagine when I reach 100?" he asked rhetorically. "I am just working to get back to the top and today showed a great deal of what I am capable of," he added.

Meanwhile, a strongerlooking Steele was just happy to finish the race healthy in a year that he plans to really make a mark. "The execution was 80 per cent good.

I should have relaxed more coming home for a better time, but 45.4 in the first week of February is something that I have never seen before, and thank God for that," said Steele, who has a best time of 45.38 done in 2012.

And promising Calabar High School youngster Javon Francis won his heat by a city block in 46.91 seconds.  Francis, fast becoming a crowd favourite, was embraced by Steele after crossing the finish line.

Meanwhile, 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallist Kerron Stewart won her first race for her new club, Racers Track Club, winning her 400m heat in 54.00 seconds ahead of Scillonie Calvert, who clocked 54.13 seconds. "It felt good.

You always want to run fast as a competitor, but the most important thing is that I came away injury-free and I can always go back and work," said Stewart after a long warming-down process. At the schoolboy level, the sprints at this year’s Champs are shaping up to be one of the best in years, with a number of athletes burning up the track.

News filtered through at the National Stadium yesterday that KC’s Zharnel Hughes of Anguilla eased home in 10.36 seconds in the 100m at the Milo Relay in St James.

That apparently triggered Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk into action and he breezed home in his Class One 100m heat in 10.31 seconds.

But before that buzz could subside, Calabar’s World Youth 200m champion Michael O’Hara turned in a jaw-dropping performance, stopping the clock at 10.29 seconds.

"The breeze was looking very tricky, so I know I wasn’t going to get a fast time, so I am very surprised with the time," he told the Observer.

When asked if he was sending a strong message to his competitors, he replied: "I wasn’t really flat-out.  The coach said go out there and execute, drive for the first


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