Hyde: a revelation
It doesn't matter that the 400-metre hurdles appeared to fit Jaheel Hyde like a suit from a bespoke tailor even before he tried it. As we all know, expectation and reality can sometimes be quite different. Happily, Hyde made the event his own in 2014.
As expected, his speed and hurdling abilities proved a formidable combination. With his Wolmers' Boys' School coach, Chris Harley, shrewdly plotting a course through a debut season in the long hurdles, Hyde bulldozed Omar McLeod's national junior and Boys' Championship record. That 49.49-second run presaged wins at the Carifta Games and the Penn Relays. Not content, he peaked again at the World Junior Championships to the tune of 49.29 seconds.
A year ago, at this time in this space, it was suggested that the 400m hurdles might be right for Hyde. Despite that, it was still a revelation.
That was July and late in August, he closed his career as an Under-18 athlete with a world best for the 110-metre hurdles at the Youth Olympics.
His eye-popping 2014 season begs two questions. The first is what will he do in the New Year. Some pundits already see him in Beijing for the World Championships. Perhaps, after his 2013 and 2014 exploits in football and athletics, he needs some rest. He won the World Youth 110 hurdles in July last year and has been training and competing in one sport or the other ever since.
A 2015 season that ends after the Penn Relays in April might just recharge his batteries.
The other question is whether any other top prospect will
come to the 400m hurdles. Calabar's World Youth 200-metre champion, Michael O'Hara, is a great candidate. He's taller
than Hyde, has the Boys' Championships Class Two 110-metre hurdles record and has blazing speed at 400 metres.
When Calabar ran three minutes 7.00 seconds to set a Gibson Relays 4x400m record in February, reliable watches timed his third leg in under 46 seconds. At the Penn Relays, his urgent anchor was a confirmed 45.8
Whether O'Hara tries the event or not, Jamaica is on the way back in the 400m hurdles. Roxroy Cato and Annsert Whyte ran 48.48 and 48.58, respectively, this year. STETHS has 2013 World Youth Champion Marvin Williams and his talented namesake Okeen.
All of them, and former national junior record holders McLeod and Josef Robertson, 2012 World Junior finalist Javarn Gallimore and 2012 Olympic finalist Leford Green, could harbour thoughts of reaching the heights of Olympic silver medal winners Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane.
For now, Jaheel Hyde is the name on everyone's lips. After his blockbuster debut season in the 400-metre hurdles, it's no wonder.
n Hubert Lawrence has scrutinised athletics since 1980.