Hubert Lawrence | Excellence delivered at Champs 2019
The list of those who starred at Champs is a long one. Kimar Farquharson and Oblique Seville of Calabar High School, the terrific Clayton twins, and St Jago’s Vashawn Vascianna are among those who deserve the highest commendation. However, two Champs performers stand taller than the rest – Wayne Pinnock and Charokee Young.
Pinnock led the Kingston College charge to an impressive team victory with three records in two events, the Class One long jump and the 110-metre hurdles. In the long jump, he first added eight centimetres to the 1993 mark by Vere’s Leon Gordon, and then he went further and leapt 8.05 metres. Now he is the joint 12th-longest jumper in the Jamaican men’s all-time performance list.
Then he broke Dejour’s Russell’s one-year-old hurdles record with a fine run of 13.06 seconds. Now he stands levelled with Tyler Mason on the Jamaican and World Junior all-time performance list. Only Damion Thomas, Wilhem Belocian of Guadeloupe and France, and Orlando Bennett have faster times.
That double was special.
As she did last year, Young produced a personal best in the Class One 400m. This time, her well-timed run of 52.48 seconds moved her up from silver to gold. Then, in the 800m, she got the first run on favoured Petersfield High School prospect Shaquena Foote. The result was another personal best, 2 minutes 06.02 seconds.
The 400m/800m is notoriously difficult. For Young to do it after losing a recent 800 metre showdown with Foote, it showed she is a tough contender.
Her resolve led Hydel to within seven points of the Girls’ Championship title. Buoyed by phenomenal sprinting, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School held on for their sixth straight team title. With Kevona Davis and the Clayton twins on display, the Friday-night session of 100-metre finals were especially good. Tina beat Tia in the Class Three final in a staggeringly good 11.27 seconds to shift ownership of the world age-14 best inside one family.
Davis produced a copybook technical race in Class Two to click off her second-fastest 100-metre time – 11.19. That set the stage for more speed. In Class One, Ashanti Moore showed technique and power as she clocked 11.17 seconds to put herself on the sprint radar. Then Seville came within 0.01 of the Champs Class One 100-metre record with his unhurried dash of 10.13.
Yohan Blake’s national junior record – 10.11 – isn’t far off.
SPECTACULAR 800m EVENT
If one single event took pride of place at the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, it was the Class One 800 metres. The scrutiny began with Farquharson’s 1 minute 47.9 second anchor leg at the Gibson McCook Relays. Attention escalated when Tyrice Taylor of Enid Bennett High School won in 1.48.85 at the G.C. Foster Classic. On that occasion, Farquharson stopped on the second lap.
Like Young did in her rematch with Foote, Farquharson stayed closer to the pace, and when Taylor covered the first lap in the Champs final in 53.2 seconds, the Calabar ace was only 0.3 behind. With the field broken, Taylor, Farquharson and KC captain Tarees Rhoden reached the final straight together. That’s when the Calabar boy eased away to win in 1 minute 48.63 seconds, 0.21 under a record set in 1987.
Taylor proved he was no one-hit wonder at 1.48.91. With that run, he joined Farquharson, Sherwin Burgess and Kenroy Levy as the only boys to run under 1.49 at Champs.
How good was it? Ask Rhoden. His time, a personal-best 1 minute 49.04 seconds, would have won every Class One 800m final except the 1987 Burgess-Levy classic and this one.
Hubert Lawrence was present at Champs 1987 and 2019.