JAMAICA College are the early leaders in the boys’ section of the 103rd ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletic Championships after two finals at press time on yesterday’s second day at the National Stadium.
Jamaica College amassed 23 points from the classes one and two long jumps, four more than defending champions Calabar High on 19 points, with Kingston College a point further back on 18 in third place.
Cornwall College and Campion High on four points each, Wolmer’s Boys on three, St Jago High on two, and Hydel on one point were the other schools that scored points yesterday.
One other final, the 2,000m steeple chase, was due to be run last night.
Four more finals, plus the second half of the decathlon Open, will be held on today’s third day of the five-day championships.
Also today, the 100m will start, as well as the 1,500m, the Class Two shot put that is expected to be one of the more competitive events, the 400m first round, as well as the semi-finals of the 200m and 800m events.
Yesterday, Jamaica College went ahead from the first event, scoring 16 points after the first completed final, the Class Two long jump in which Ajani James won with 7.10m, a mere centimetre ahead of teammate O’brien Waysome’s 7.09m.
Calabar High’s Javaughn Fowler took the bronze with 7.07m, while Kingston College’s Shammawi Wellington was fourth with 7.05m.
Kingston College’s Clive Pullen, who was upset by his teammate Keniel Grant last year, stormed back to win the Class One long jump with 7.57m, beating the Calabar pair of Sadike Eddie and Julaine Walker, both of whom had identical marks of 7.32m for the silver and bronze medals.
Grant, who only qualified for the final on his final attempt in Tuesday’s first round, finished fifth.
After Tuesday’s quiet opening day the sparks started flying yesterday with teams positioning themselves for places in the finals, as the championships intensified with each passing session.
The sprinters made their first appearance yesterday in the first round of the 200m where all the favourites advanced comfortably.
Munro College’s Delano Williams, the IAAF World Junior champion who is chasing a third straight title, cruised home in his heat of the Class One event in 21.77 seconds and told the Jamaica Observer he was “not thinking too far ahead”.
Williams, who will also try to defend the Class One sprint double when the 100m starts today, said: “I am taking it round by round and just see how it goes.”
Odail Todd of Green Island High, who withdrew from last year’s Championships due to injury, also won his heat in an easy-looking 21.43 seconds, and told the Observer he was not pressured to try to make up for last year.
Calabar’s World Junior Championships 400m finalist Javon Francis, along with Ivan Henry of St Jago High, Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk, who had the fastest time of 21.40 seconds, and dark horse Gremeko Whitelock of Green Island, all advanced to this afternoon’s semi-finals.
Michael O’Hara of Calabar High, the defending champion, and Raheem Robinson of St Jago, the bronze medallist last year, who are expected to decide the gold and silver medals on Saturday, practically jogged their heat, finishing first and second in 21.62 seconds and 22.12 seconds, respectively.
Anthony Carpenter of Calabar High ran 22.97 seconds to lead the Class Three qualifiers ahead of Kingston College’s Jhevaughn Matherson (22.99 seconds), and Calabar’s Rohan Moore (23.17 seconds).
Earlier in the first event of the day, Munro College’s Jevaughn Shaw threw 49.90m to lead the qualifying in the Class One discus.
The Western Championships gold medallist’s throw led IAAF World Youth and World Junior champion and defending Class One champion Fedric Dacres (48.25m), and Kingston College’s Chadrick DaCosta (45.73m).
Fifteen athletes, including Edwin Allen’s Demar Gayle, qualified for today’s final, surpassing the 39.10m automatic qualifying distance.
Excelsior High’s Rayon Black leads the Class One 800m qualifying after winning heat seven in 1 minute, 55.52 seconds, ahead of Kingston College’s Brian Smith’s 1 minute, 55.63 seconds, and Petersfield’s Osgane Turner, who ran 1 minute, 56.04 seconds to win his heat.
Munro College’s Herbert Thomas, who won at CARIFTA Trials in a personal best 1 minute, 53.03 seconds, also advanced to the semi-finals set for tomorrow afternoon.
The Petersfield pair of Tion Grey (1 minute, 58.92 seconds), and Ryan Dunkley (1 minute, 59.89 seconds) were the only two Class Two boys under the two-minute mark in the first round, while Kingston College’s Damoy Boyd leads the Class Three qualifying.
Kingston College’s Omar McLeod, who was second last year while running for Manchester High, leads the qualifiers in the 400m hurdles Open, winning his first-round heat in 51.59 seconds; Kyle Robinson of Jamaica College was next with 52.93 seconds ahead of Okeen Williams of St Elizabeth Technical (54.12 seconds).