McPherson, Hamm carry torch for Holmwood as Gibson-McCook Relays looms


McPherson, Hamm carry torch for Holmwood as Gibson-McCook Relays looms

Observer writer

Monday, February 24, 2020

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Central Athletics Championships Class One boys' 400m champion Bovel McPherson and Class Two boys' 400m champion Tahj Hamm will both be hoping to lead Holmwood Technical High School to gold at the PUMA/Digicel Gibson-McCook Relays this weekend.

Despite finishing in a mere eighth place with 50 points, way off winners St Jago who scored 375 points, Holmwood boasts a very competitive mile relay team that will be looking to follow up on their Central Champs win with Gibson McCook gold.

Hamm came to the Central Athletics Championships on a mission, and at the end of the two-day event it was mission accomplished and more.

Hamm easily took the Class Two gold in a new record of 47.72s, eclipsing the old mark of 48.17s set by Jevaughn Powell in 2017. Bryan Levell of Edwin Allen took silver with 48.07s, and Derrick Grant of Ferncourt bronze with 49.01s.

Hamm was pleased to get the record on his second bite of the cherry, although he had planned to get the job done on Tuesday's day one.

“I came to Central Champs to get the record. I was planning to break it from the heats but it didn't happen, so I just came and did my best in the final.”

The Milo Western Relays, which was held at G C Foster College a week before, had given the 15-year-old the confidence he needed ahead of Central Champs.

“I went 48.1 at Milo Western Relays in the boys' Open 400m, so I knew I could break the record. So I just went back home and did my hard training and came back for the record,” he explained.

Hamm has no intention of resting on his laurels as he has already set himself a new target for the remaining weeks of the season.

“I am very happy that I have broken it; now I am trying to aim for 46s this season,” he revealed.

The Gibson McCook Relays, which takes place on Saturday, February 29, is the next big-ticket item, and Hamm believes that a gold medal is there for the taking in the boys' 4x400m Relay Open, which is a championship event at the relay carnival.

He is only in Class two, but Hamm is sure to feature as part of a high-quality Holmwood Technical quartet.

“We have a great team, we have a great coach and great training — of course we can win!” he said with much confidence,” he noted.

And as far as the ISSA Grace/Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships is concerned, the mission there is quite simple.

“I am going to Champs for the win,” was Hamm's sharp response.

Bovel McPherson (46.77s) was heavy favourite for Class One gold and duly obliged. Zandrion Barnes of Manchester High was second in 47.48s, D'Andre Anderson of Vere Technical was third in 47.49, while McPherson's teammate Antonio Blair was fourth in 48.27s.

McPherson explained his race strategy that brought him gold.

“All I did was come off the curve, let the momentum bring me through the backstretch, and then build it up from there,” he stated.

Despite a late challenge from the rest of the field down the home stretch, he was unaware of his rivals as he headed for the finish line.

“I was totally focused on myself,” McPherson said.

When asked about his team's chances of winning gold at the Gibson McCook Relays, he gave a coy response.

“We will see,” was all he said.

McPherson did admit that the win at Central Champs will boost his confidence ahead of Champs.

“Yes, it has boosted my confidence heading into Champs.”

As for what he expects to do at Champs, he was again coy in his response.

“Something big; I won't say.”

Both athletes were instrumental in their school securing gold in the 4x400m final at Central Champs in 3:14.14. St Jago were second in 3:15.62 and Garvey Maceo third in 3:18.39.

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