Track feast at MILO Western Champs
CATHERINE HALL, St James — A feast of track and field is expected at today's 36th staging of the MILO Western Relays set for the Montego Bay Sports Complex, starting at midday.
Over 90 teams ranging from prep and primary through to clubs and institutions are down to take part in what the organisers are saying could be one of the best stagings in recent memory with a number of individual and relay match-ups expected to give the usually large crowd a lot to cheer about through almost nine hours of competition.
Meet director Ray Harvey was beaming when he spoke to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, saying almost everything was in place.
"We are ready here, we are just waiting for the teams to start showing up and the first race to start," he said.
The meet has become famous for running exactly on time, but Harvey said their organisational skills could be pushed to the limit this year. "We were surprised by the overwhelming number of teams that have sent in entries and if everyone should turn up, we will be challenged to stay within the schedule we have set," Harvey said, adding that it was not a bad problem to have.
For the first time there will be a full schedule of sprint hurdles for high-school students and an invitational women's 100m hurdles, and Harvey said these had got "very good responses".
Hydel High and Cameron Blazers are first-time entrants, while former stand-outs Jamaica College and Manchester High have returned with small teams.
World Championships triple gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be recognised by the St James Parish Council and will be conferred with the keys to the city by Mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, during the opening ceremony.
The St James Parish Council passed the resolution at Thursday's weekly meeting, the Observer understands.
Former coach of the Holmwood Technical girls' team Maurice Wilson will be the meet patron, while three gold medallists from last year's IAAF World Youth Championships (WYC) will be recognised as the outstanding junior athletes from last season.
Wolmer's Boys' Jaheel Hyde, the WYC 110m hurdles champion, and St Elizabeth Technical's Marvin Williams, who won the 400m hurdles, will share the boys' award, while Holmwood Technical's Yanique Thompson will get the girls' award.
Meanwhile, Marvin Williams and his STETHS teammate Okeen Williams will meet for the first time over the 400m hurdles since the World Youths in Ukraine last year.
Okeen had gone into the final as the favourite, but hit a hurdle and fell while Marvin went on to win.
Marvin has ran the intermediate hurdle twice this season already, while Okeen will make his seasonal debut.
Marvin will also contest the Class One boys' 110m hurdles.
Thompson, who set a world youth best 12.94 seconds in Ukraine, will line up in the Class One girls' 100m hurdles, her first run over the obstacles this year.
The women's 100m hurdles looks like one of the highlights of the meet and will feature Latoya Greaves, Megan Simmonds and Chrisdale MCarthy.
The relays have also promised exciting action with Holmwood Technical and Edwin Allen High renewing their rivalry, while Hydel High and St Elizabeth Technical will seek to challenge them.
Wolmer's Boys, Kingston College and St Elizabeth Technical are the top names among the boys' schools with Munro College and Petersfield High also expected to make a good impression.
Championships of America's men's 4x100m champions UTech are set to take on many-time champions MVP in the 4x100m and 4x200m clubs and institution events, while Cameron Blazers, GC Foster and Sprint Tech will also be in contention.