Six to watch at Champs 2016
Track and field analyst and coach, Raymond 'KC' Graham, looks at six athletes who are set to shine at the March 15-19 ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships.
1. CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR (Calabar High)
Following a magnificent season last year where he was crowned World Youth champion in the 400 metres, Calabar High's Taylor looks set to delight fans with two top class runs in the Class Two 200 and 400 metres. He has personal best times of 20.78 and 45.27 in the events. Both times are better than the current records (20.89 and 46.64) and he will be racing the clock at Champs. The 200m mark was set in 2007 by Calabar's Ramone McKenzie while Jamaica College's Devaughn Baker set the 400m record in 2013.
Taylor's speed has improved. His season best over 100m is 10.44 which he clocked at the Camperdown Classics. He also crossed the line in 45.89 over 400m at the Digicel Grand Prix Final.
2. AKEEM BLOOMFIELD (Kingston College)
After his record breaking performance of 44.93 seconds in winning the Class One 400 metres last year, Kingston College's Akeem Bloomfield will be aiming to retain his title and smash his own record. Following an injury at the Penn Relays last year, Bloomfield has hardly competed since and has only touched the track twice at the recent Carifta Trials. There were whispers that he could miss "Champs" after not participating in the various Development meets but he silenced his critics with a awesome performance at the Carifta Trials. After an easy 47.44 in the preliminary round of the Under-20 400m he showed his class in the final where he ran a quick first 200m before shutting it down for the remainder of the race and even stopping metres from the finish line but still was able to clock 46.51. Based on that run his one year old record could go.
3. OBRIEN WASOME (Jamaica College)
Jamaica College's hopes of topping the championships will rest on Obrien Wasome who is expected to lead his team's push in the field events where he is down to defend two titles. A year ago he went beyond the record distance in the triple jump open with 16.24 metres but it was wind- aided and it was his teammate, Clayton Brown, who went away with the record after finishing second with a legal 16.04 metres. Wasome went close to the long standing long jump record of 7.87 metres done by Vere Technical's Leon Gordon in 1993 after winning with 7.71 metres and will be hoping to finish his high school campaign on a high by winning both events with record breaking performances.
4. SHANNON KALLAWAN (Edwin Allen High)
THE likes of World and Olympic champion Melaine Walker and Ristananna Tracy were outstanding at the championships in the 400m hurdles open for girls in the past. Recently Edwin Allen High Shannon Kallawan has shown that she is ready to do something special at Champs. She will be taking aim at Tracy's 2011 record of 55.81 seconds. In one year she has shown tremendous improvement. After a then career best of 57.20 in winning at the Central Championships, she lowered that mark at the Carifta Trials with a new personal best of 56.80. A classy performance indeed and with the expected competition at "Champs" where Junelle Bromfield of St Elizabeth Technical could be among the starters, Kallawan can definitely go close or better the record.
5. JUNELLE BROMFIELD (St Elizabeth Technical)
Bromfield is without a doubt the most improved female athlete this season. She has been impressive in the 400m, 800m and 1500m this season and she will be looking to continue that trend at Champs. Fans will be eager to see her in the 400m where she will clash with Holmwood Technical's Ashley Williams. Both athletes have gone sub 53 seconds, with Bromfield the leader with a record run of 52.43 at the Western Girls Championships in Montego Bay. The 51.13 mark by former Holmwood star Sonita Sutherland looks a bit out of reach but chances are we could see a sub 52 seconds run with Bromfield leading the way.
6. SHANICE LOVE (Excelsior)
Excelsior High are one of the most improved teams around and strong woman Shanice Love will be hoping to give her team maximum points in the Class One discus as they look to unseat many-time Corporate Area champions Wolmer's Girls.
Love has been outstanding all season in the event and surely her sights will be set on the 51.16m record mark of Edwin Allen's Tara Sue Barnett. Based on her form so far this season, with winning throws of 50.39m at the Digicel Grand Prix final and 51.46m at the Big Shot meet, Love will surely get near to or past the record.