Concentration, focus fire Clarke to 'proud' win
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Fourteen-year-old boy wonder Nickolai Clarke was again in superb shooting form and as lightning striking the same target twice in the same place, he clinched consecutive champion boys' crowns with a hard-fought win.
There was no matching young Clarke, who shot a near-perfect 49 of 50 birds to qualify for the super-six round in the A class, at the American International School of Kingston (AISK) SportsFeva Sporting Clays tournament, at the Jamaica Skeet Club, Portmore, on Sunday.
With momentum on his side and confidence peaked, following the champion boy status earned at last year's Digicel Inter-Schools Clay Challenge, Clarke coolly withstood the pressure and rallied to another impressive win.
Eventually, he secured a one-point triumph, courtesy of 59 hits, while Jake Therrien (58) and Aidan Ingledew (58) entered a shoot-off for the runner-up spot. Therrien eventually finished second.
"I am very proud of my performance, because I planned to come out here to concentrate and stay focused," Clarke told The Gleaner.
The youngster explained that he put in intense physical and mental training last Friday, which helped him execute well under pressure towards the end. He also credited his success to "concentration and hard work".
Clarke and Therrien contributed 30 points to champion school Hillel, while Ingledew earned 20 for Campion College.
Hillel scored a resounding 290 points to retain a fifth hold of the title, while Campion finished second with 110 points and AISK third with 90.
Nicholas Chen, Hillel's captain, had nothing but praises for his high-riding teammates.
"Congrats to everybody for doing extremely well, we had many class winners because we practice a lot," he said. "Every Friday, we put in hard work till we are eventually the top school."
He said they hope to continue dominating the sport.
Meanwhile, Isabelle Chin emerged champion of the girls' A class, as she shot 42 birds to win her first title.
"I am very happy to win; I trained hard and had the mental mindset to do it, so I am just proud to win. I am looking forward to more wins in the future," said Chin.
Coach Khaleel Azan credited the budding shooters for putting on one of the best tournaments.
"I am extremely satisfied. After taking the course to a different level of difficulty, the juniors felt it more, but, overall, it was a good yardstick for me to determine where everyone is overall," he said.