Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Champs Watch | Of records and new events

Published:Saturday | April 1, 2017 | 4:00 AM
Clive Pullen competing for Kingston College at Champs 2013.
Jaheel Hyde during his days representing Wolmer's at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
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Things change. When the boys' triple jump open evolved into two events at Boys and Girls' Championships in 2014, the record - 15.83 metres by Clive Pullen in 2013 - stayed on the books. Pullen's mark emerged as the Class One standard while the Class Two boys established records in the brand new event. History hasn't precisely repeated itself with the evolution of the boys' 400 metre hurdles Open.

As with the triple jump, the 400 metre hurdles debuted at Champs this week in both the Class One and Class Two categories. However, the former Open record - 49.01 seconds by Jaheel Hyde, then of Wolmers' Boys School - has left the record books. That could have been avoided.

As with the Pullen mark, Hyde's 2015 performance could have been preserved at the Class One record.

It's not the first time great marks have been consigned to obscurity at Champs. More than 20 years ago, there was a move to have running event records all time electronically. Manually timed records were swept away.

That makes sense in the sprints, where the accepted differential between electronic times and manual times is 0.24 seconds. That's too much. However, there is a greater tolerance and the electronic/manual timing differential is smaller at 0.14.

The move wiped schoolgirl Olympian Claudine Williams off the Champs record books. Her all-time Class Two 800 metre best of 2 minutes 05.6 seconds is largely forgotten. The record on the books is significantly slower.

That shouldn't happen to the Hyde mark, which is a national junior record. Application of the triple jump record preservation logic should preserve the 49.01 as a target for the Class One boys. After all, he was himself a Class One athlete when he dazzled everyone with that big display of his world class potential.

Moreover, the Class One 400 metre hurdles is contested with the same hurdle height as the old Open version.

The triple jump split has doubled the number of boys learning the event. The change in the hurdles may yield benefits, too. That can be evaluated in time, but hopefully, Hyde's mark can re-emerge as the Class One mark.

Such a move would be simply following established procedure.

- Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980.