‘Foreign’ athletes doing well for local schools
In past years, overseas athletics, especially from the Caribbean, have made their marks at the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls'Athletics Championships (Champs), the trend will continue this year as more teams have bought into the idea.
Kingston College (KC), Jamaica College (JC), St Jago High, Calabar High, St Catherine High and Edwin Allen High have benefitted in the past and other schools have now joined the fray and athletes from these schools have already made their marks in development meets.
Dinthill Technical, with some five athletes from the Caribbean in their squad, saw Guyanese Sean Booker in fine form at the Douglas Forrest Invitational meet held at GC Foster College recently. Booker showed that he will be one to be reckoned with in the Class One 800 metres at Champs as the Danny Hawthorne-coached athlete produced the fastest time on the day after clocking 1:56.84 seconds to win his heat. "He can go much faster as the plan for him was to run 1:57 but despite cruising, he clocked a good time and this will do his confidence a whole lot of good," said Hawthorne after his charge won the event.
In two meets so far, Holmwood Technical High girls have shown good early form and after quality all-round performances the Dave Anderson-coached team could be on their way back and will be a big threat to defending champions Edwin Allen.
At the Puma/Fuller/Anderson meet at Kirkvine, they dominated all events and their charge was led by Florence Nafamba, a Class Two athlete from Uganda who won the 3000 metres open in in 12 minutes 03.74 seconds. Christine Chela, also from Uganda, was a member of their winning 4x400 metres team at the Central Hurdles, Relay and Field events meet at GC Foster College.
Defending Girls' Champions Edwin Allen have brought in four athletes from abroad, three from the Caribbean and one from England. They will join up with 400m hurdler Natasha Fox from Trinidad and Tobago.
KC already have in their squad Ethan Gioka from Uganda and Brian Kiprop from Kenya. Both athletes were part of their winning team last year and have started off well this season. Gioko was victorious in the 5000m Open at the Douglas Forrest Invitational winning in 15:40.16. Kiprop took second in 16:34.4 and went on to win the Class Two 1500m in 4:18.99.
JC have a strong field events contingent from the Caribbean led by Uroy Ryan in the jumps and they are expected to make a big impact at Champs. Edwin Allen with seven boys from the Caribbean will also be hoping also that these athletes can make a difference in their programmes this season.