STETHS's Ellis to the rescue
If you were worried that the showcase sprint events of the 2016 ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships would be dull, worry no more. Nigel Ellis, the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) sprint stylist, changed the landscape last week with brilliant times at Western Championships. Ellis has fans licking their lips in anticipation.
Fourth last year in both the Class One 100 and 200 metres, he would have been among this year's favourites anyway. Now there is no doubt. His Western Champs times - 10.20 and 20.40 seconds - ensure that.
The other daunting fact is that Champs is a month away and he could improve. That would put him within touch distance of the Class One records.
Those belong to Zharnel Hughes at 10.12 seconds in the 100 and to Usain Bolt at 20.25 in the 200. Bolt's mark was set in 2003 and survived a 2013 assault by Delano Williams by just 0.02. A closer look shows that Bolt had an aiding wind of 1.9 metres per second compared to the 0.9 breeze in Williams' race.
It's not a done deal until the races are run, however, and Ellis will face worthy competition at Champs. Jhevaughn Matherson of Kingston College has looked good in his outings so far and ran 20.97 seconds to win the Class Two 200m in 2014.
Fast-starting Raheem Chambers of St Jago should be in the picture too. He finished behind Ellis in the 100m last year but generally has been great at Champs. He won in both Class Two and Class Three in record times, and while Matherson broke his class 3 mark, his Class Two standard of 10.29 still sparkles.
In fact, a win for Chambers would put him in an elite group of sprinters to win the 100 in Classes One, Two and Three. Donald Quarrie and Remaldo Rose of Camperdown, Dexter Lee of Herbert Morrison and Calabar's Michael O'Hara have done it. Chambers has to beat Ellis to join them.
• Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980.