All systems go for Champs 2018
Competition director George Forbes said that logistical preparations ahead of today's start of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium, have been going smoothly, and he expects no problems as teams get settled into the venue for the five-day event.
"We have no problems where [schools not making changes on time] is concerned," Forbes said. "We were making the changes since Saturday. Some schools came in on Sunday and made their changes. We stuck by the 48 hours as stipulated by the IAAF, so there's no problem where that is concerned. That is a given rule, and everybody's adhering, so I don't envision any problems."
Defending champions Edwin Allen and Calabar High have put their main acts on show with eye-catching and jaw-dropping performances across the multiple development meets and the time to perform has arrived.
Michael Dyke's girls look untouchable and will be hoping to deliver big time. Sisters Tina and Tia Clayton, along with hurdler Salieci Myles will lead Class Three, while supreme sprinter Kevona Davis and high jumper Janique Burgher will carry the banner in Class Two, with long jumper Annia Ashley leading Class One.
Hydel's outgoing captain, Shian Salmon, has dominated her events this season, and will look to Kerrica Hill, Gabrielle Matthews, and Cherokee Young to help challenge the defending champions.
Former champions Holmwood Technical will hinge their hopes for title number 11 on top sprinter Michae Harriot, as well as Chrissani May, Rickiann Russell and Susan Francis to add valuable points.
St Jago and Excelsior will do battle for fourth and fifth.
Calabar have dubbed this campaign 'Seventh Heaven' as they seek to complete a seven-year hold on the Mortimer Geddes trophy, and with a plethora of talent at their behest, this unit may be the best Michael Clarke has ever assembled.
Captain Christopher Taylor, Anthony Carpenter, Dejour Russell and company have championship experience, and will be ready to stave off all challengers.
Rivaldo Mitchell and Kevroy Venson should also be paid close attention to in the middle distances. Their coach, Errol Messias, is confident his runners will deliver on expectation when the time arrives.
"Venson and Rivaldo are the surest quinella for Calabar at Champs this year," Messias said. "They have been coming up together since Class 3 and there is a magnet in Venson that Rivaldo gets attracted to, so he will run well."
Kingston College have 31 titles and have been yearning for 32 since 2009. The famed Purples have been relatively underwhelming to the naked eye this season, but Wayne Pinnock's 7.99m and Deshaun Morris' sub-46 clocking during the Digicel Grand Prix Series may be an indication that something special may be in store.
Jamaica College will be looking to surprise as they did in 2011. Ken Reyes, Colby Jennings, Ryiem Robertson and Phillip Lemonious will have to be beacons of hope as top sprinter Michali Everett is possibly out of individual events due to injury. Without the depth, they will have to be wary of St Jago and St Elizabeth Technical, who have much improved squads.