Merchants of speed - Class One Boys' 100m set to light up Champs
Hang on to your seats! The merchants of speed take the track tonight, with sparks expected to fly at the National Stadium as the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships comes to a boil.
The Class One Boys' 100m clash is one of the most eagerly anticipated events at this year's championships, with three youngsters, in particular, dominating the headlines in what will be a mad dash for the top of the podium.
With the semi-finals set to face the starter at 3:50 p.m. and the final at 8:35 p.m., most attention will be placed on the lanes of St Elizabeth Technical's Nigel Ellis, Kingston College's Jhevaughn Matherson, and St Jago's Raheem Chambers.
Three the hard way, and they are all feeling pretty good about their chances today.
Despite running in a strong headwind, Ellis - the hottest sprinter in the class this season after his 10.20 burst earlier this year - cruised through his preliminary-round assignment in 11.04 seconds and insisted that he felt very strong.
Ellis, who finished fourth in this event at last year's championships, is confident about his chances despite remaining coy about his expected finish.
"I won't comment (on where I will finish), but I am feeling OK, and I am pretty confident," Ellis told The Gleaner.
Chambers, who was just returning from an injury, finished second to Ellis at the recent Carifta Trials, but the St Jago star, who clocked 11.04 to take Heat Three, says he only has eyes for gold and that it is not his intention to settle for anything less.
"The gold (medal) is the reason why I am here. I am not competing for any other medal. The aim (in heats) was just to go out and qualify. I am not watching anybody. I am just going out to perform to my best to make my school and family proud. Fitness-wise, I am not a 100 per cent, but I am fit enough to win," Chambers declared.
Matherson, who was also blighted by injuries last season, has been in peak form this term, breaking the national youth record at the Carifta Trials recently in a time of 10.25 seconds.
Yesterday, he clocked 10.95 to take his heat, and he, too, is looking forward to the contest in confident spirits.
"The competition will be very tough, but I am strong enough, and I have confidence in myself and my team, so I hope I do well. I just want to go through the rounds and hope that everything comes through in the final. I am feeling well - a little better than last year - so I expect to do well," he stated.