The race for Jaheel's crown ... 400mH battle heats up!
... 400mH battle heats up!
THE ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships is some eight weeks away and after a few weeks of competition at the various development meets, 400 metres hurdles will be very competitive.
After the dominance of Jaheel Hyde for the past two seasons, it is much different now as it will be a more open field. Two of last year's finalists, Orlando Smith of Kingston College and Timor Barrett of St. Jago High, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, are back this year, and will be hoping to use their experience to get the better of their opponents.
At the first meet of the season, the Douglas Forrest Invitational, Smith opened up with 53.91 seconds to set the stage. However, last weekend at two separate meets, several contenders sent out very strong messages.
Calabar's Aykeem Francis, who was second overall at the Douglas Forrest meet, went much faster, winning handsomely at home at the McKenley-Wint Invitational in 53.10 seconds to stake his claim as one of the front-runners.
On the same day at the Central Hurdles and Relays at G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, three athletes went sub-54 seconds, while one went sub-53 seconds.
In a very exciting race, the very talented Jauavney James of St. Elizabeth Technical showed his true potential in a fine display to win a close race in 53.53 seconds as Edwin Allen's Rayon Holmes (53.68) and Kingston College's Chadrick Brown (53.95) seconds also finished under the 54 seconds barrier.
The performance of the day, however, came in the Collegiate and Club Open 400 metres Hurdles event, where St. Jago's Barrett was an entrant.
Barrett, who failed to go sub-54 seconds last year showed tremendous improvement as he finished a close second in a personal best 52.82 seconds to throw out the gauntlet to his rivals, and, according to his coach Danny Hawthorne the best is yet to come.
Like the males it is expected to be close among the females where three athletes have gone sub-60 seconds already.
At the Central Hurdle meet three athletes went under the one minute barrier with Edwin Allen's Shannon Kallawan leading the way with a winning time of 59.24 seconds as Vere Technical's Sanique Walker (59.72) and Holmwood's Nicolee Foster (59.74) seconds were all under the mark here.