Fri | Dec 9, 2016

One shining 44-second moment from Bloomfield at Champs 2015

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Kingston College's Akeem Bloomfield celebrates breaking the Class One boys' 400m record at the 2015 ISSA Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships, at the National Stadium on Saturday.

When Javon Francis ran 45 seconds to win the Class One 400 metres at last year's Boys' Championships, it seemed to be a record for the ages.

The run had dislodged Usain Bolt from the record books in that event, causing one sharp pundit to write, "This record will last donkey years."

Yet, in one shining moment, Francis' record was broken by 17-year-old Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College (KC) at this year's renewal of Championships.

Out fast, Bloomfield zoomed through the first half of the race and hurried home to hold off Nathon Allen of St Jago High. Their times - 44.93 seconds to 45.30 for Allen - crystallise hopes of a Jamaican revival in the 400 metres.

Both are personal best times, but the winner smashed a national junior record set by Davian Clarke 20 years ago.

Clarke was a 19-year-old University of Miami freshman at that time.

It's probably too soon to be sure that Bloomfield, Allen, third-placed Martin Manley or Class Two winner Christopher Taylor will go on to be as good as Clarke was.

More than just a relay genius, Clarke was a two-time Olympic finalist in the 400m and was National Collegiate Athletics Association champion indoors and out for Miami.

Even so, you can't stop the feeling of optimism. The lanky new KC star isn't far off Clarke's personal best of 44.83 seconds. Only he and Francis have ever run faster at Champs in the 400m than Allen.

it's all good

Even Manley might draw some satisfaction over his bronze medal despite an injury-interrupted season. As young people often say, it's all good.

The story of how Bloomfield came to the 400m isn't novel. He was felled by injury in last year's Class Two 100m final and started the 400m to race while skirting the G-Forces that pummel the body in the short sprints. Somehow, like 1992 Olympic champion Quincy Watts, who left the short sprints because of injuries, the 400 fits Bloomfield to a T.

Well-coached by Neil Harrison at KC, Bloomfield put forth his speed, training and courage in one shining moment at Champs last Saturday.

Time will tell if he and the other bright prospects reach Olympian heights, but for now the KC sixth former can bask in glory.

Why? Not only is he the first Jamaican schoolboy to break 45, but he is also the first Jamaican to go 44 since 2011. Best of all, there's probably more to come from Bloomfield and this fast, new young brigade.

n Hubert Lawrence has been making notes at trackside since 1980.