Raymond Graham, Sunday Gleaner Writer
There was much disappointment for spectators who turned up for yesterday's third staging of the Ben Francis Invitational meet.
Heavy showers derailed the meet forcing the organisers to cancel a number of track events.
However, the rain did not stop the function held for former student and many-time Olympian, Merlene Ottey, the honouree for this year's meet. Ottey also received the Doctor of Technology in Sports from the University of Technology (UTech).
Ottey was very pleased with her award.
"It was a fantastic feeling to be honoured by my former school and also to get an award from the University of Technology and I was really surprised by this knowing that at no time I was at that institution," she said.
"I am very blessed to be back at Vere although I only spent some eight months there and although there are not many things I can remember. The grass track looks the same to me," she added.
Before the rain halted proceedings, there were some encouraging performances on the track, with St Jago High's Lerone Haye and Vere Technical's Chantal Pennie capturing the two Championship event to be concluded on the day.
Coach of Vere Technical, John Mair was very disappointed.
"The meet was going very smoothly and anticipation was high for some great performances throughout the day but that's life," said Mair.
Haye, in an impressive performance, put himself in pole position to capture the 2000 metres Steeplechase Open event at next month's Boys and Girls' Championships with a runaway win. Haye won the event easily in 6:29.34 to turn back the Kingston College duo of Brian Golding (6:34.50) and Ptolemy Hayden (6:44.58).
Pennie had the top performance in the Class One 200 metres as she won her heat in 25.87 seconds with St Andrew High's Moya Edwards finishing second in 25.88 with third overall going to Rusheen Reid of The Queen's School, 25.91.
Shimarya Williams of Clarendon College continued her impressive show this season in Class Two as she topped the field in the 200 metres. The only Class Two athlete to go under 26 seconds, she won her heat in 25.23 seconds with Vere's Renae Medley second in 26.10 seconds and Toni-ann Nelson of St Hugh's third in 26.62.