High jump hopes
It feels like just yesterday that a packed and yet hushed National Stadium ushered Desmond 'Zele' Morris over a bar seven feet above ground.
As he strode to the bar, he wasn't just a star for Kingston College (KC). He was hope for everyone there. When he cleared the erstwhile high jump barrier, he was everyone's hero.
That moment at Boys' Champs in 1979 was special. Yet, we moved on. Last year, Christoff Bryan jumped 2.24 metres to win the Class One high jump. That's 10 centimetres above Zele's history seven-footer, measured metrically at 2.14 metres.
Last Saturday, at the mind-blowing Carifta Trials, Lushane Wilson cleared 2.15m in the Under-18 category. If he repeats that at Champs, the St Jago student will not only surpass Zele's memorable achievement, but he will also put the heat on Bryan.
Now at college in the United States, Bryan holds the Class Two record at 2.10m, and Wilson has surpassed that height on several occasions this year. This former Class Three winner seems capable of more. At the Trials, he tried 2.18m as well.
Clayton Brown was in last year's World Junior final with Bryan and has competed sparingly this season. However, his 2.07m season-opener on the grass at Jamaica College (JC) in January suggests great things. He jumped 2.17m last year.
Hopefully, his endeavours in the triple jump won't slow him down too much.
The boys aren't alone in promising big things. The Class One girls should match Anastacia Forrester of Manchester with Safia Morgan of Immaculate Conception in a battle that should carry both over 1.80 metres.
With the throws accelerating in recent years, it's good to see the jumps also picking up steam. While the boys' Class One long jump record of 7.87 metres was set by Leon Gordon of Vere in 1993, the girls' records have been moving along nicely.
For now, the focus in the jumps at Champs will be on Wilson. Even while Akeem Bloomfield and Christopher Taylor are zooming around in the 400m, high jump fans will be watching the basketballer from St Jago to see if he can surpass Bryan ... and Zele.
- Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980.