St Jago take early lead among girls
As Jamaica’s top male and female high school athletes returned to the big stage yesterday with the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium, organisers faced the starter on yesterday’s opening day, with a clean bill of health.
Over 1,600 athletes, coaches, volunteers and other support personnel were tested ahead of the championships last weekend, with the results returning nine positive cases, an acceptable platform, by all accounts for the return of the five-day athletics festival, which was cancelled last year after Jamaica recorded its first coronavirus cases.
ISSA President Keith Wellington said that while pleased with the low positivity rate, he regretted that even a handful of students were denied the opportunity of competing.
“That is roughly half a per cent which isn’t bad under the current context. We are concerned about those nine persons, especially that there is one child who would be in her final year,” Wellington told The Gleaner. “We sympathise with them but we are happy that it is not any worse.”
Robust sanitisation, no spectators, strict adherence and heavily policed protocols and a muted atmosphere were the order of the day on Champs’ return.
“It’s different. Definitely different, not negatively different because the persons who are here are all workers and they are looking on. To not have the supporters pushing the student along and enjoying is a little bit strange, but under the circumstances over the last 12 months, we would have been accustomed to these type of settings,” said Wellington.
EXCITEMENT ON THE TRACK
The stands might have been quiet, but the girls brought a lot of excitement on the track as action in the girls’ championships got under way.
A faulty start in the Class Three 80m hurdles earlier in the afternoon resulted in the race being run over and produced a fierce battle between St Jago’s Camoy Binger and Hydel’s Jody Ann Daley.
Binger, 11.14 seconds, narrowly edged Daley, 11.15 seconds, in the re-run to validate her earlier win, while Briana Campbell came third in 11.24 seconds.
While no records were broken on the first day of the championships, both St Jago and Hydel won three finals each out of the 10 on schedule.
For St Jago those included a gold in the Class Two shot put, which was won by Grenadian Jamora Alves, 14.93m and Class One high jump champion Shantae Foreman, who took the event in a new personal best of 1.84m.
The majority of Hydel’s finals wins came from the track, as they enjoyed back-to-back successes in the sprint hurdles with Kerrica Hill, 13.29, and Sania Myers, 13.92, finishing one-two in the Class Two 100m hurdles and Oneka Wilson, 13.60, claiming victory in the Class One event ahead of Clarendon College’s Marissa Simpson, 13.70, and Patreece Clarke (Edwin Allen), 13.81.
The 200m open steeplechase was won by Samantha Pryce (Holmwood), 7:07.12, ahead of Edwin Allen’s Sanyae Gibson, 7:13.63, and Rushell Johnson (St Jago), 7:17.70.
St Jago finished day one with 81 points, opening a five-point lead over Hydel High (76), while defending champions Edwin Allen are third with 71 points. Wolmer’s are next best on 21, while Holmwood round out the top five with 17 points.