Two wins in a row for Portland athletes
Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
HERMAN REID, head coach of Portland, said that the parish-based athletes were better prepared mentally and physically than their competitors, which enabled them to successfully defend their title in the recently concluded Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA)/Sagicor National Athletics Championships.
For the second year in a row, Portland won the two-day competition, which was held at the National Stadium last week, after amassing 315 points ahead of former winner St Andrew, 280. Saint Catherine (274), St Elizabeth (268), Manchester (149), Kingston (142), St Mary (132), Westmoreland (119), St Ann (108), and Clarendon (104), rounded out the top 10.
"We had some early setbacks. The inclement weather affected our preparation leading up to the championships, and several training sessions had to be cancelled," reported Reid. "Despite that, we were able to successfully defend our title as we had a more rounded team than last year, and the mood in the camp was very encouraging. The athletes were focused and rearing to go, and we were confident that we would defend our title."
According to Reid, one of the drawbacks to this year's championships was the lack of sponsorship, which somewhat affected the morale of the team as the schools had to fend for themselves. He noted, however, that plans to raise funds for next year's competition are far advanced. Several initiatives will be undertaken by the various schools.
In pointing out that the talent this year was much better than last year, Reid singled out the twins, Romero and Amario Ferron, with the former breaking the record in the 400m under-17 boys. The team went on to also break the record in the 4x400m relay. Reid also had high praises for the under-17 girls, who performed outstandingly.
He said, "There were a number of parishes that we were a bit concerned about including St Andrew, Kingston, St Elizabeth, Manchester, and St Catherine, who we knew was coming out in full force to dethrone us. But we were determined to defend what is rightfully ours. We first won in 2007, lost in 2008 by one point, but were victorious last year, and now we are the defending champion."
Among the outstanding performances at the championships for Portland was Joline Fable from Portland, who won the girls' under-17 sprint double. She won the 200m in 26.71 in front of St Elizabeth's Abigail Solmon (26.83), and Tanika Williams of St Andrew (27.04). Fable also returned to capture the 100m in 13.13 seconds ahead of Solmon (13.28), and Williams (13.48).
Romario Ferron of Portland won the boys' under-17 200m in 23.89, leading home his teammate André Brown (24.05) and St Catherine's Terry Thomas (24.07).