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Excitement galore in boys’ 4x800m

Published:Monday | February 29, 2016 | 2:00 AMHubert Lawrence
The victorious St Elizabeth Technical High School Boys’ 4x800 team at the Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium on Saturday. They are (from left) Shemar Salmon, Ryan Dunkley, Javauney James and Paul Tate.

Courtesy of a fast and determined anchor leg by Javauney James, St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) won the most exciting race in a rainy 40th staging of the Gibson McCook Relays.

James rallied to pull STETHS ahead of St Jago High School in the boys' 4x800 metres, to stop the clock in 7:35.08 seconds. His brilliance help his school to record the fourth fastest time in the 40-year history of the relays.

St Jago slipped away when Paul Tate, STETHS' reigning Boys' Championships Class One 800m champion, struggled on the third leg. Tate laboured through his leg in one minute 56 seconds, a far cry from his seasonal best 1.54.94 seconds and his lifetime best of 1.52.94.

To make thing worse for James, St Jago's Class Two star Keenan Lawrence smoothly ran a 1.53.5 leg to stretch the lead over STETHS to 3.4 seconds. Then 2015 World Youth 800-metre finalist Leon Clarke looked to have an unassailable lead.

LAST-MINUTE WIN

Remarkably, James caught him and outraced him in the last 100 metres.

James finished the STETHS triumph with a storming 1.50.6 anchor. That was much faster than his personal best in the individual event of 1.53.27. The performance marked him as the favourite to add gold in Class One to the Boys' Championship wins to those he secured in Class Two and Class Three in 2014 and 2013.

He lost his Class Two crown last year to Clarke. The tall St Jago boy has seasonal and lifetime bests of 1.52.45 and 1.50.49. His Gibson McCook anchor was timed in 1.54.5.

Only Kingston College, holders of the meet record at seven minutes 33.87 seconds, and STETHS have ever ran the 4x800m faster at the Gibson-McCook Relays.

When KC set the record last year, STETHS were second in 7.34.78, with both teams under the old standard, set at 7.34.96 by STETHS in 1994.