Sport

Sprinters ignite Champs

JC surge to lead on day three

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 28, 2014    

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JAMAICA College surged to the lead of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships with 42 points, 12 ahead of Kingston College (KC) on 30.5 and Calabar with 21 points after six finals at the National Stadium last night.

Warren Barrett Jnr of Cornwall College broke the Class Two shot put record with a massive heave of 18.18m and erased the 2009 mark of 17.41m set by Calabar's Ashina Miller. It was the third boys' record of the championship following exploits by Christopher Taylor in the Class Three 400m heats on Tuesday and Obrian Frith in the 2,000m Steeplechase on Wednesday. Kevin Nedrick of Petersfield was second with 16.08m and Wolmers' Kyle Mitchell third with 16.03m.

Meanwhile, Basil Bingham finally got defending champion Calabar off the mark easily winning the Class One discus throw with 60.29m, well clear of Glendford Watson of Petersfield High with 54.21m. Demar Gayle of Edwin Allen was third with 53.36m. Alec-Verne Longmor of JC was fourth with 50.08m ahead of Andre Beckford of Calabar in fifth.

JC's Malik Cunningham outlasted Calabar's Ricardo Clarke to win the Class Three high jump on the count back. Both athletes leapt to 1.86m. Alexander Thompson of STGC was third with 1.80m ahead of Cedric Titus' Samuel Jordan also with 1.80.

Late in the evening, there were some fireworks in the 200m semi-finals. Bog Walk's Jevaughn Minzie threw down the guantlet in the first 200m semis with a wonderful 20.37 seconds and had the race favourite Javon Francis struggling in his wake with 20.58 seconds.

Then Zharnel Hughes had tongues wagging with an effortless 20.32 seconds in the second semi-final as he cruised away from the field impressively. The third semi-final pitted the World Youth 200m champion Michael O'Hara against the World Youth 400m champion Martin Manley and it was the St Jago quarter-miler Manley who showed tremendous speed to win in 20.57 ahead of O'Hara in 20.60 seconds. Usain Bolt's record of 20.25 seconds is definitely under threat in the final.

Calabar's Tyreke Wilson started the proceedings with a blistering 21.90 seconds, just outside the record of 21.87 done last year by Jhevaughn Matherson. His teammate Christopher Taylor won his semis in 22.07, setting the tone for a quinella for Calabar on Saturday.

In Class Two, Akeem Bloomfield in his more favoured event galloped to an impressive 21.06 seconds. In semi-final two, Matherson did 21.10 to defeat speed merchant Raheem Chambers of St Jago who eased up and looked to be playing possum.

Earlier in the day, KC's Hughes showed that he will be hard to beat; after safely sitting in the blocks, he was still quickest into the semis with 10.72 seconds running into a negative head wind of -2.3mph. Calabar's Michael O'Hara also cruised home in 10.86, while Jevaughn Minzie clocked 10.75.

World Youth 400m champion Martin Manley was not so relaxed in winning in 10.93 seconds. JC's Tyler Mason did 10.82 seconds.

In Class Two, the big three --Raheem Chambers (11.23) of St Jago and the KC pair of Akeem Bloomfield (11.30) and Jhevaughn Matherson (11.25) -- all made it through safely with negative head wind affecting their times. Jelani Walker of St George's College was quickest with 11.00 seconds.

As expected, the Calabar pair of Tyreke Wilson and Dejour Russell were extremely easy in qualifying in 11.40 and 11.30 seconds, respectively, in the Class Three 100m. JC's Chislon Gordon was second fastest with 11.31 in winning heat two. KC's hope Yashawn Hamilton was fourth quickest in 11.56 seconds.

Calabar looked good in the Class One 1,500m as both their runners Jorel Bellafonte and Rajay Hamilton are through to the final with 4:06.70 and 4:04.46, respectively. Munro College's Tariq Fullerton was the quickest with 4:03.83 minutes. KC's Delano Rochester also through with 4:07.21 minutes.

KC qualified two athletes in Shane Buchanan (15:48.03) and Romario Foote (16:23.14) in the final of the 5,000m, which is expected to be won by Frith of Holmwood who qualified with the fastest time of 15:36.26 minutes. Garfield Gordon of Mavis Bank High won the other semi-final in 16:15.95 minutes. Calabar failed to qualify, while JC Deighton Nicholas did 16:38.40 minutes.

Gavin Gibson of KC enters the Class One Triple jump final with 15.51m ahead of Adaine Lewis of Cornwall College with 15.49m. Clayton Brown of JC was third best with 15.39m. Calabar's Travis Riley with 14.80m is also through to the final.

In the Class Three long jump, Shawon Coke of St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) leapt 6.56m to lead all qualifiers into the final. Joel Morgan of Excelsior High did 6.32m ahead of favourite Dejour Russell of Calabar with 6.31m. KC's Wayne Pinnock was sixth best with 6.04m, while JC's Mailk Cunningham also made it into the final with 5.82m.

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