Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
The annual Gibson Relays is on at the National Stadium and track and field fans are in for a treat treat at today's 37th staging of the prestigious relay carnival.
With Boys and Girls' Champion-ships just over two weeks away, a lot of the spotlight will be on the schools expected to dominate at the island's premier high school meet. However, Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and his Racers teammates Yohan Blake, the 2011 World 100m gold medallist, and last year's Olympic 200m bronze medallist Warren Weir could well steal the show.
Bolt and his teammates are expected to line up in the sprint relay for clubs and institutions, and the 2010 record, 38.08 seconds, set by the High Performance Centre, could be shattered. Racers' main local rivals, the MVP Track Club, with former World 100m record holder Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter in their line-up, are expected to face the starter, and if they do a time well below 38 seconds could be on the cards when the final is run at approximately 5:33 this afternoon.
Action at the meet will get under way at 9:30 a.m. with the heats of the boys' high school 4x400 metres.
With the high school championships set for March 12-16, a number of the teams are approaching peak fitness and performances today will definitely give a true indication of what is to happen at the championships.
Many coaches will, however, want to very careful with their charges as they may not want to push too hard with the really big meet not too far away.
Based on competition so far at the various development meets, it should be very close going as no one school will dominate in either the male or female category.
As usual, there will be three Championship events for both boys and girls, the sprint relays, the 4x400m open and the 4x800m open.
Kingston College (KC) won the sprint relay last year and will start favourites to win again.
All members of that team are still at school and they have been bolstered by new recruit Omar McLeod, formerly of Manchester High.
At the Milo Western Relays, KC scored a close victory over an Odail Todd-led Green Island team. KC won in 40.28 seconds to Green Island's 40.37. The Odean Skeen-led Wolmer's also went under 41 seconds as they clocked 40.59 for third.
The teams named above, along with the Delano Williams-led Munro College team and Camper-down Classics winners Calabar High should have a battle royal, and it could take a sub-40 seconds time to win.
In the high school 4x400m, Manchester High will also be hoping to repeat last year's triumph, and they showed at the Camperdown Classics two weeks ago that they will once again be a force to be reckoned with. Despite losing McLeod they raced to an impressive 3:11.64 to win the event and finished ahead of St Jago, who clocked 3:12.91. Also expected to do well are 2011 winners Munro College, who were runaway winners at the Western Relays in a record 3:13.12. St Jago, KC and Calabar should all make it a close affair.
KC will also start favourites in the 4x800m as they have a very strong team, including Brian Golding and Brian Smith. However, Holmwood Technical, Bellefield and St Jago all have strong line-ups and could surprise the Western Relays winners.
Following are the likely top three in the girls' championship relays:
4x100m Class One: 1. Edwin Allen, 2. Holmwood, 3. Vere.
4x400m open: 1. Vere, 2. Edwin Allen, 3. Holmwood.
4x800m: 1. Edwin Allen, 2. Holmwood, 3. St Jago.