Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
The spotlight will be on the island's top under-20 male sprinters on today's first day of the two-day Carifta Games Trials at the National Stadium.
Defending 100 metres champion, Jazeel Murphy, is the hot favourite for the short sprint following the impressive form he showed last Saturday as a member of the winning Racers Track Club 4x100 metres team.
Murphy who is now being guided by top sprint coach Glen Mills is, however, not expected to have things his own way. He will be challenged by the likes of 2011 World Youth 100 metres champion Odail Todd of Green Island High, Odean Skeen from Wolmer's Boys, and Bog Walk High's Javaughn Minzies.
Boys and Girls' Championships is just over a week away but it is expected that coaches will be sending their top athletes to this weekend's trials, as The Bahamas who will host the Carifta Games for the seventh time will be at full strength in their bid to topple Jamaica. Last year in Bermuda, Jamaica got an overall 78 medals which included 25 gold, while The Bahamas finished second with 40 medals, including 14 gold.
With Champs just around the corner, most athletes are in peak form and it should be two days of great competition, as some athletes will be seeking to get the psychological edge going into Champs. Thirty-one finals are down to be contested today, 15 on the track and 16 field events.
Competition today will start at 11 a.m, with the preliminary round of the girls' under-17 300 metres hurdles, to be followed by the under-20 girls 400 metres hurdles and the boys' under-17 and under-20 400m hurdles. The finals for these events will run later in he day, with the 300 metres hurdles set to get under way at 3:15 p.m.
All field events at the meet will be straight finals, with the girls' under-17 triple jump being the first field event final at 11 a.m. Defending Carifta Games under-20 400 metres hurdles champion, Omar McLeod of Kingston College, is one of those expected to figure strongly in today's event.
The 2013 Carifta Games will be held in Nassau, Bahamas, March 29-April 1, at the new Thomas Robinson Stadium.