Thu | Feb 20, 2020

‘Classic’ hurdling at Youngster Goldsmith today

Published:Saturday | February 1, 2020 | 12:15 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Vashaun Vascianna of St Jago wins the Class Two Boys 110m hurdles finals with a time of 13.26 seconds at last year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.
Vashaun Vascianna of St Jago wins the Class Two Boys 110m hurdles finals with a time of 13.26 seconds at last year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

THE 2020 local track and field season will continue today with the staging of three meets across the island. In the east, there will be the Eastern Invitational Track and Field Meet at Lyssons, St Thomas; in central Jamaica, the Jamalco Sports Club in Clarendon will host the JAAA/Puma Development Meet; and in the Corporate Area, it will be the 23rd staging of the Grace/Puma/Digicel/Youngster Goldsmith Classics at the National Stadium.

Undoubtedly, most attention will be at the National Stadium where the meet which is put on by Kingston College (KC) will see all the top high schools in action as over 1,800 athletes will be participating. With the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) just eight weeks away, fans are in for a treat and from the opening event at 8 a.m.

From the High School Girls’ Open 400m hurdles to the final event the 100m for Class One Boys, it should be a day of fierce and intense competition as top individuals and teams seek a psychological advantage as this could be the final time where all the ‘top guns’ will meet before Champs.

Hurdles spotlight

It will be the hurdle events that are expected to steal the spotlight today as this the only development meet leading up to Champs where there are heats and finals. Usually, this was only done for the sprint hurdles but for the first time, it will be done for the 400m hurdles.

“The coaches have asked for us to have the intermediate hurdles for two rounds and we have decided to do this so the top eight from the preliminary round in all the sprint hurdles, and the 400m hurdles will contest finals,” meet director Raffick Shaw said.

Edwin Allen High’s Bryan Levell will be hoping to avenge his Central Hurdles defeat to Kingston College’s Antonio Forbes in the Class Two Boys 400m hurdles after Forbes won in 55.67 seconds to his 55.74 seconds. They are the top two in the event this season but Forbes was also the winner at the Douglas Forrest meet while Levell won at the Purewater/Jamaica College (JC)/R Danny Wiilliams Meet last month. Oshane Mullings of Petersfield High, who was third best at that meet with 56.95 seconds, should also factor here.

It should be a thriller in the Class One Boys’ 110m hurdles as St Jago High’s Vashaun Vascianna will be hoping to silent the KC fans when he takes on the red-hot Wayne Pinnock. Pinnock, who was second in the event a year ago behind teammate Akeem Cargill, went on to win the event at Champs in record time and started the season on a bang after a record breaking 13.76 seconds at the Central Hurdles and Relay Meet. Vascianna, who has dominated in the lower classes is in his first year in Class One and showed at the Queen’s/Grace Jackson Meet last week that he has no fears here after a record breaking 13.73 seconds to be the leader in the event this season. He is hoping to continue his hurdle unbeaten record locally.

St Jago High’s Crystal Morrison and Excelsior High’s Ackera Nugent, two of the finest in high school female sprint hurdling, will make their season’s debuts in the Girls Class One 100m hurdles, the first time for both in the upper class. Both have had some epic battles since their Class Three days and it should continue today. Morrison’s teammate Rosealee Cooper, with a season’s best of 13.80 seconds in winning at the JC meet, Hydel High’s Tafarra Rose, who won both at the Calabar McKenley Wint Track and Field Classic in 13.96, and the Queen’s/Grace Jackson Meet in 13.89 seconds will be hoping to upset the top two here.

There will also be the 100m sprints today, which will attract an additional fee of $259 per participating athlete as the money collected here will go towards the cost of the lighting inside the National Stadium.