Christopher Taylor delights with record run on Champs day one
Calabar High School's Christopher Taylor delighted with a record run on the opening day of the 106th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships inside the National Stadium.
With six finals on the card, Jamaica College (JC), though, are expected to lead at the end of today, with yesterday's curtain-raiser giving little indication of the fierce race to the titles that await.
Still, yesterday was not without its fair share of 'oohs' and aahs', and the main reason: Taylor.
It says something that his run surprised nobody inside the National Stadium because of course, when your name is Christopher Taylor, you break records.
The wiry Calabar standout missed the record mark at last year's Champs, but wasted little time in erasing Devaughn Baker's (JC) time of 46.64 set in 2013 with a smooth 46.33 in yesterday's boys' Class Two 400m heats.
"Yes, I wanted to break the record today," he confirmed afterwards. "That was my intention, and I am happy I was able to get it done."
Kingston College's Akeem Bloomfield was also impressive, frighteningly, as he jogged the final 100m or so and stopped the clock at 48.36 to win his Class One boys' 400m heat. Let's not forget that he is responsible for that 44.93-run last year, and despite his injuries over the past 12 months, it is hard to see another winner in this event.
St Elizabeth Technical High School's (STETHS) Junelle Bromfield has certainly been a class act this season, and she was comfortable in qualifying from her Class One girls, 400m heat in 53.63 seconds.
She is expected to do battle with Holmwood's Ashley Williams, who clocked a solid 55.07 in winning her heat, with another medal favourite, Edwin Allen's Shannon Kalawan, the fastest qualifier with a time of 54.37 ahead of Hydel High's Taqece Duggan, 54.85.
Jamaica College's high-flyer, O'Brien Wasome, is comfortably through to today's boys' Class One final (5:50 p.m.), where he is expected to dominate and pick up some valuable points for the 2011 champions.
Wasome produced his best jump this year, disturbing the sand at 7.74 metres, a clear demonstration that he not only intends to defend the title he won last year as part of a JC horizontal jumps sweep, but also to break Leon Gordon's 28-year-old record of 7.87m.
He is followed into the final by Calabar's Leroy Paige, 7.17m; Tasrico Bell (Vere Technical) 7.14m; KC's Dameon Creary, 7.11m; Campion College's Lorne Barrett, 7.10m and Paketo Dudley (JC), 7.10m, among the top qualifiers.
Earlier, Vere Technical's Avery Pryce a bronze medal winner at Central Champs was most impressive in qualifying to today's Class Two girls shot put final (5:30 p.m.), after registering a 13.90m mark in yesterday's preliminary round.
Next best was Buff Bay High's Ashtina Dobson, 13.08m, with St Jago's Shania Scott also booking her spot with a 12.13m effort.
Delarno Beckford (Happy Grove) was the best qualifier to the boys' javelin Open event with a mark of 56.94m, with Petersfield High's Kevin Nedrick, 53.68 and Morant Bay's Tyrik Sewell, 53.09m, showing themselves to be a cut above the rest of the field in yesterday's qualifying.
Gold medal favourite Brittany Anderson (Vere) is the fastest qualifier to the next round in the girls Class Three 80m hurdles, winning her heat in 11.43. Winsome Harris (STETHS), 11.48, Codesha Lewis (Vere), 11.51, Ackera Nugent (Excelsior), 11.61 and Kimeone McLeod (St Jago), 11.69, are the top qualifiers
Last year's Class Three champion, Shanette Allison (Holmwood), looks ready to take her shot after graduating to Class Two, after topping all qualifiers in the 100m hurdles in 13.59. The Manchester High pair of Sidney Marshall (13.86) and Daszay Freeman (13.92) are also through to the next round, as are Casheena Chen (Wolmer's), 13.94 and Edwin Allen's Khamoy Farquharson, 13.97.
After dominating Class Three for the last two seasons, Edwin Allen's Annia Ashley, 5.68m, was impressive in booking her spot in the Class Two girls long jump, with Monief Heslop (Camperdown), 5.54m, Shiann Salmon (Hydel), 5.50m and Rhian Chong (Alpha), 5.44m, also showing good form.
In the Class I girl's high jump preliminaries, Hydel's Britny Kerr (1.60m) is safely through to the final where she will face St Jago's Athaliah Boyd and Tissanna Hickling; as well as Hydel's Samara Spencer, Alpha's Gabriel Foster and Petersfield's Colistia Baker, who also cleared 1.60m in qualifying.
Competition is set to start at 8:30 a.m. today with the preliminary round of the Class Four girls long jump.