Mon | Feb 24, 2020

Don’t clear your stopwatch

Published:Thursday | March 12, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Hard-core athletics fans have a tradition, they time races themselves with hand-held stopwatches and 'compete' to get times that match the official results.

Typically, if the last race of the day is impressive, those stop watches remain uncleared at least until the next meet.

It's as if a glance at the uncleared stopwatch triggers instant replays of that last impressive race, in slow-mo, 3D and from the Goodyear Blimp.

It's a safe bet that there are lots of uncleared stopwatches after the last 10 minutes of last weekend's Carifta Trials.

To be honest, I put my favourite stopwatch away after the phenomenal run by Calabar High School's Christopher Taylor in the Under-18 400 metres.

It had followed the 15-year-old through a staggering World Youth best of 45.69 seconds. It seemed best to trigger my own mental slow-mo, 3D replays with a glance later.

With one race left at the Trials, I took out my spare instrument. The Under-20 400m final had a hard act to follow.

Shockingly, Akeem Bloom-field, a tall 17-year-old, went even faster.

Injured last at Boys and Girls' Championships, the Kingston College (KC) student went off hard and held his form well to win in 45.41 seconds.

Before you could say 9.58, stat geeks were remembering that the only Jamaican junior athletes to go faster were Davian Clarke, Javon Francis and a certain Usain Bolt

I immediately put that stopwatch away, uncleared, as well.

The fast times by Bloomfield and Taylor suggest a forthcoming surge in the 400 metres.


sensational anchor


In 2011, Jamaica won the bronze medals in the 4x400m at the World Championships. In 2013, with four different runners and anchored sensationally by Francis, Jamaica took silver in Moscow. Earlier in that season, Devaughn Baker of Jamaica College (JC) beat Jaheel Hyde and Martin Manley in the first-ever Champs Class Two race under 47 seconds. At the 2013 World Youth Championships, Manley won the gold in 45.89 seconds.

Add all that to Francis' wonderful Champs record run of 45 seconds flat, and you have a relaunch platform in an event where Jamaica has had two Olympic champions and World Champions indoors and outdoors.

That's not all. The last two national titles have gone to Javere Bell in 45.08 in 2013 and to Akeem Gauntlett in 45.00 last year. Just two weeks ago, the Racers Lions ran 03.18 seconds to win the men's 4x400m at the Gibson McCook Relays, with the University of Technology not far behind. Good times are ahead.

And if you really must know, I haven't cleared my stopwatches yet.

- Hubert Lawrence has a third stopwatch, just in case.