Six to defend titles at Carifta Games
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
WHEN Jamaica's athletes compete at the 2013 Carifta Games this weekend, six individuals will be hoping to defend their titles successfully following victories a year ago.
Sprinter Jazeel Murphy, hurdler Omar McLeod, pole vaulter Xavier Boland, and discus thrower Fedrick Dacres will be seeking to retain their titles among the males, while among the females, the defending champions are middle-distance runner Simoya Campbell and thrower Gleneve Grange.
Both Murphy and McLeod will be seeking to make it three wins in a row in their events. Murphy, the former Bridgeport High sprinter who is now a full-time member of Racers Track Club, will be defending his Under-20 100 metres title. Murphy, who won last year in a wind-aided 10.41 seconds, was also victorious in Montego Bay two years ago where he clocked 10.27 seconds .
McLeod, who broke the national junior records in both the 110 metres and 400 metres hurdle at the recent Boys and Girls' Championships, won the 400 metres hurdles event in 52.35 seconds, a year after winning the same event on home soil in 52.42. McLeod will want to emulate the performance of Trinidad's Jehue Gordon in 2010, who won the 110m and 400m hurdles in record times of 13.41 and 49.76 seconds.
McLeod's teammate at Kingston College, Xavier Boland, will also be seeking a hat-trick of wins as he will defend his title in the Under-20 pole vault event. Boland won last year with a clearance of 4.40 metres, the same mark he achieved two years ago.
After winning the 800/1500m Under-20 double a year ago, former Spalding High middle-distance athlete Simoya Campbell will only get a chance to defend her 800m title. Now a student at the University of Technology, Campbell will be hoping to better last year's winning time of 2:08.48.
The multitalented Gleneve Grange of Holmwood Technical will be competing in the pentathlon event which she won a year ago with 3,292 points.