Some of the island’s top junior hurdlers will be the highlight of today’s opening day of the 2013 Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium.
Calabar and Edwin Allen will start the defence of their respective Boys and Girls’ titles, and despite the fact that no points will be on offer during today’s curtain-raiser, there should be no shortage of action as athletes jostle for positions and try to secure their spots in later rounds.
The Red Hills Road-based Calabar High scored 287.5 points last year to outlast Kingston College (265) and Jamaica College (221), and coach Michael Clarke and his charges are well aware that it will be another close contest this time around.
Edwin Allen were dominant last year, beating then champions Holmwood Technical by more than 100 points – racking up 346 points to the nine-time champions’ 222 – to secure their first hold on the top prize.
Fourteen events make up today’s schedule with standouts such as Kingston College’s Omar McLeod, Yanick Hart of Wolmer’s, Camperdown’s Peta-Gaye Williams, and St Jago’s Chrisdale McCarthy expected to lay down early markers.
McLeod and Hart will be hoping to navigate these early rounds successfully and take their Class One 110m hurdles rivalry all the way to the final scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Williams has been well conditioned and looks in good knick this season despite sitting out last week’s Carifta Trials due to a niggle. The Class Two 100m hurdles favourite will also be looking to send a strong message to her rivals later this afternoon, likewise McCarthy, who is expected to take top honours in the Class One equivalent.
Outstanding Kingston College pair Clive Pullen and Keneil Grant will play a key role in their school’s efforts to wrestle the Mortimer Geddes trophy from Calabar and will be looking to ensure safe passage to the final when they get going in the Class One long jump at 2:35 p.m.