All set for Boys’ & Girls’ Champs
Posted by Dresonic on March 28, 2007
FOLLOWING months of training and intense competition in more than 20 development meets, more than 2,300 athletes from 78 Girls’ and 89 Boys’ teams will lay it on the line over the next four days of the GraceKennedy/ISSA National Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.
Defending champions Kingston College (KC) and Holmwood Technical will be aiming to retain their respective Boys’ and Girls’ titles.
KC (233.5 points), who are searching for the seventh straight hold on the Mortimor Geddes Trophy and 31st overall, are expected to again be challenged by last year’s second-placed finisher, Calabar (231.5), in a contest that experts say is too close to call.
Coach of the ‘Purples’, Lennox Graham, told the Observer his team is rounded in all three classes, in all disciplines, and his charges are up for the challenge.
“To pick a class and say it’s our strongest I would have to say Class One… we have good strength in Class Two – good hurdlers, good middle distance runners, good throwers, who are coming on at the right time…
“In Class Three, we have a nice, rounded bunch and the relays are fairly strong,” Graham said, noting that winning will depend on how his team performs each day.
“We’ve done all we can to prepare them and we’ll be there supporting them mentally and physically throughout the next four days to ensure they put their best foot forward… that’s all we can expect from them…,” he added.
Calabar’s coach Michael Clarke is searching for his first title with the Red Hills Road boys and their 20th overall, having won once with St Jago (1987) and seven with Jamaica College (JC) between 1991 and 2000.
“I think our chances are very good as we have a fairly rounded team in every class and practically in every event… the team spirit is very high and we’re expecting to do well,” Clarke told the Observer yesterday.
He said like any other team, he has injury problems. “… I guess at the end of the day it’s the team that has the least problems or deal with those problems most effectively, that will come out the winner,” he added.
Calabar’s last lien on the coveted trophy came a decade ago in 1997, and Clarke is hoping to end the 10-year drought.
“Calabar fans can expect that the team will go out there and give of their best and we intend to perform at the highest possible level and we’ll see how it turns out…,” he said.
On the female side, Holmwood will be gunning to become only the second team behind Vere Technical to win the JAAA’s Girls’ crown for a fifth consecutive year, having scored 331 to lift their fourth title last year, ahead of Vere, 308.
Coach Maurice Wilson said his team has not been training well over the past two weeks because of persistent rains, but believes his charges will be ready over the next four days.
“I think… most of the work would’ve been done and we’re just going to try and get them hyped-up for competition this week…,” Wilson told the Observer.
He said he is wary of challenges from the perennial quartet of Vere, Edwin Allen, Manchester High and St Jago.
“I would want to think that Vere is always a threat… they have been there more than once; Edwin Allen has always been challenging, so I’d want to look at those two teams as two of our biggest threats…,” he said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the organising committee for the ISSA-run event, Dave Myrie, told the Observer all is in place for a safe, incident-free and spectator-friendly competition.
“We think we’ve put everything in place… what my committee has done over the last week is to think about every possible thing that could go wrong and we believe everything has been signed off on and we’re ready to roll… we just hope to have a good Championships,” he said.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup on a break here, Myrie said the JCF will provide half of the 800 security personnel who will be working to ensure a safe meet.
“We want people to enjoy the four days of Championships and as such we’re creating a situation where spectators come knowing there will be no threat of incidents, so as a result we’ve had to pay full attention to security as we did last year, which worked well,” he explained.
“One of the areas that will certainly be improved is the number of personnel in terms of police and private security, in particularly the bleachers, and that’s about keeping the walkways and aisles clear so that people can move around quite easily,” Myrie said.
2 Responses to “All set for Boys’ & Girls’ Champs”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.