Two to watch in 2016
In a year where several of Jamaica's male juniors performed with distinction, two athletes, Christopher Taylor of Calabar High and Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College, stood tall in the 400 metres.
Taylor, who gave early signals at development meets early in the year with excellent times in both the 200 and 400 metres, continued his good form at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships, where, in his first year in Class Two, he easily won the one-lap event along with the 200m and ran a brilliant leg in the 4x400 metres as Calabar clocked a record 3:06.76 to wipe out St Jago High's one-year-old mark of 3:08.31.
On the world stage, Taylor produced outstanding times. At the IAAF World Youth Championships in July in Cali, Colombia, he was just brilliant. After posting 45.30 seconds in his semi-final, where many thought he had gone out too fast and would have paid the price in the final, he went even faster in the final as he stopped the clock at an astonishing 45.27 to win the event and become the second-fastest ever at this level. Only American Obi Moore with his 45.14 in Santiago, Chile, in 1995 has gone faster.
The 16-year-old Taylor (born October 1, 1999), who went sub 46 seconds four times in the year, was ranked number one on the IAAF Word Youth list and was sixth on the World Junior list for 2015.
While Taylor was the talk of the town, Kingston College's Akeem Bloomfield was not far behind. Competing in his fourth individual 400 metres of his career at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Championships in March, he created history in the one-lap event.
Bloomfield (born October 11, 1997) dipped under 45 seconds in winning the Class One 400m in 44.93. In doing so, he became the country's first junior to go sub-45 and, in the process, he shattered Davian Clarke's national junior record of 45.21.
Bloomfield, with that record-breaking performance, ended the year at number two on the IAAF list. Only Abdelalelah Haroun of Qatar was faster. Haroun, who had the seven-fastest times in the event, topped the list with his 44.27.
Following these impressive 400m runs from Taylor and Bloomfield, all attention will now be turned to next year's IAAF World Junior Championships as Jamaica could do something special in the 4x400m. With the likes of Martin Manley and Jaheel Hyde set to join Taylor and Bloomfield, the world record of 3:01.09 set by the United States in Grossseto, Italy, in 2004 could be in danger.