Phenomenal running! - Taylor earns new respect after Bloomfield challenge
Everyone knows Calabar High School's track and field star, Christopher Taylor, is special.
However, the just-concluded 2016 Girls and Boys' Athletic Championships proved much more.
The young Calabar athlete burst on to the scene as a 400 metre sensation with stamina to burn and no one in his age ranks close to being his rival, as he broke record after record in the event.
This season, however, he revealed that he is a true sprint phenomenon.
At the championships, he easily walked away with the Class Two 200m and 400m gold medals, setting records in both events (20.80 in 200m and 46.33 in 400m) in the preliminaries and won the respective finals in 21.24 and 47.76. He also helped Calabar break the Class Two 4x100m record, erasing the old mark of 40.54 set by JC in 2013 with a scorching 40.29.
However, it was the young runner's magnificent run in the meet's closing event, the 4x400m anchor leg against Kingston College's (KC) outstanding and talented quarter-miler/sprinter, Akeem Bloom-field, that brought the house down and lifted his stocks among track and field enthusiasts to another level.
Bloomfield, the Class One record holder, set the record (44.93) last year, but took no part in the relays.
However, the KC athlete, who admitted that he came into the championships at around 60 per cent and is the only schoolboy many genuinely believe can beat Taylor over the 400m, made sure he conserved this time so that he could participate in the relays.
So when both were pitted against each other on the final leg of the 4x400m, it had the entire stadium on its feet in excited anticipation.
They were not disappointed, as it was a race for the ages, truly one of the great races of 'Champs'.
When Taylor received the baton approximately 10 metres ahead of Bloomfield, the Calabar fans were celebrating wildly. But the moment Bloomfield got hold of the baton, the noise of the KC faithfuls snuffed out that of their perennial rivals, as Bloomfield - in all his magnificence - rounded Taylor on the backstretch and went on to create a 10-metre gap at the 200 mark. It was then that Taylor made his move.
As they headed into the final straight, like David and Goliath, the gigantic Bloomfield began to wane, while the pint-sized Taylor, who always appeared to have energy to spare, stood tall, caught and passed his opponent with nearly 50 metres and sprinted to a clear victory.
The modest youngsters told The Gleaner that only God can explain his extraordinary talent and put his win over Bloomfield down to his race strategy.
"I can't say anything about that (talent). God gave me the talent and the speed ... you would have to ask God that question," he commented.
"The strategy going into the race (4x400m) was that if I got the baton first, I am just going to maintain my pace, no big outburst of speed, then accelerate in the home straight," Taylor pointed out.
"I was confident in my team and knew that I would play my part, and I just went and executed a perfect game plan in the final of the 4x4, and I give God thanks for the victory," he said on Saturday night after the event.
"I didn't surprise myself because I have been training for this for the last months, but coming out here tonight and doing this is really amazing."
Calabar's assistant coach, Omar Hawes, said Taylor surprises them everyday.
"This is how we normally set up our (4x400m) team, it is not a Bloomfield situation why we put him out there, that is where he normally runs in the order. But if Bloomfield is there and he thought he could have gone past Christopher Taylor and won that race, he had a next thing coming. That young man is so talented that everyday he does something new, I am impressed again, he is that special."
The school's head coach, Michael Clarke, says it is a joy working with the youngster.
"He is an extraordinary talent, a wonderful person to work with, and I'm looking to work with him for some time to come."