Smith hints at Purple pain - Says coach Clarke will plot KC's demise
WORLD Champion decathlon silver medallist and Calabar old boy Maurice Smith's words returned to haunt pre-Champs favourites Kingston College last night when the Purples' star sprinter, Jhevaughn Matherson, picked the start and crashed out of the class one 100m finals.
"KC, favourites?" Smith had asked STAR Sports on Wednesday, pointing out that the North Street school has been taking on that mantle every year.
"For the past five years, they have been favourites but, like every other team, they have speed bumps and hurdles to overcome," said Smith, who revealed he has been at his alma mater for more than two months, helping to prepare the Red Hills Road school to withstand Kingston College attempts to deny the defending champions a sixth consecutive title.
KC's first speed bump came last night when big Calabar sprinter, Michael Stephens, clocked 10.41, beating teammate Tyreke Wilson, 10.52, pulling the defending champions within seven points of leaders Kingston College entering today's final day at the National Stadium.
Stephens had all but predicted his victory, saying Matherson should fear him.
"No fear of Matherson, Matherson should fear me," Stephens said ahead of the final. "I am confident Calabar will defend our title."
Meanwhile, Smith said he was "very confident" Calabar would strategise another Champs title over arch-rivals Kingston College.
"I am confident we will win. For me, it's just who overcomes the hurdles and speed bumps, strategically, because winning this championship is about strategy," he pointed out.
Smith tipped many-time championship-winning coach Michael Clarke, who has 15 titles under his belt, as the man to get the job done again
"Calabar has demonstrated that over the years that they know.how to win. Michael Clarke is definitely the man as far as winning championships is concerned.
"I have seen him win championships with not just Calabar but with Jamaica College as well, when I was at Calabar," Smith pointed out.
Clarke has won seven titles with Calabar, as many with former champions Jamaica College (JC) and one at St Jago.
Smith was quick to add, however, that it will all come down to the athletes on the track.
"The coach can give all the direction and guidance but the athletes have to go out there and perform," he said.
Smith broke the Pan American Games decathlon record in 2007, winning his first international gold medal.
He represented Jamaica at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, finishing 14th. He won silver three years later at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.