Saturday 7 December, 2019

Antonio Watson wins 200-400 double in record style at Western Champs

Petersfield High sprinter Antonio Watson on his way to victory in the Boys' Class 2 400-metre final on Saturday at Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Watson won in a meet record 48.63 seconds. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

Petersfield High sprinter Antonio Watson on his way to victory in the Boys' Class 2 400-metre final on Saturday at Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Watson won in a meet record 48.63 seconds. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

Petersfield High sprinter Antonio Watson turned up in awesome form at the Montego Bay Sports Complex to smash two meet records on his way to the 200-400 metre double on Saturday's third and final day of Western Championships, the third regional meet of the 2018 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship.

In a very close race for the Boys' Class 2 200-metre title, Watson just got the better of  STETHS' star sprinter Sachin Dennis, who had earlier won the 100 metres. Both athletes were credited with the same time - a record 21.24 seconds, which erased the previous best of 21.50 done by Darrion Bent of Mannings in 2006.

Watson, an IAAF World Under-18 400m gold medallist,  returned less than an hour later to close his double by smashing the 400-metre record. He clocked 48.63 seconds to erase the previous record of 49.30 set in 2006 by Ashad Baker.

Cjay Whyte of Rhodes Hall finished second in 48.88 to also better the previous mark.

The 200 and 400 metres are among the 10 Digicel Gand Prix events being contested at the four regional meets in the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship.

The day also produced another 200-400 double winner through Shantae Morgan of Rusea's High.

Morgan won the Girls' Class 3 200 metres in 24.81 and the 400 metres in  58.93 seconds.

And the Petersfield pair of Kevon Stone and Ockera Myrie were among five 100 and 200-metre double winners on the day, the two events among the Digicel Grand Prix disciplines.

Stone clocked 10.71 seconds to beat  Jaydeon Crooks (10.94) of Irwin High in the Boys' Class 1 100-metre final in the morning session. He returned in the afternoon session to close the sprint double by taking the 200 metres in 20.93 seconds over Muschett High's Lijae Holness (21.74).

Myrie had earlier won the Girls' Class 1 100-metre final in 11.60 to easily beat Amoy Mairs (12.90) of Rusea's High and closed her sprint double with a 23.69 clocking in the 200 metres, with Maggotty High's Stacey-Ann Williams finishing second in 24.33.

The other 100-200 sprint double winners were Roshane McLeod and Orlando Wint, both of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), and Lashawn Haye of Rusea's High.

McLeod took the Boys' Class 3 100-200 metre double. In the 100-metre final, McLeod won in 11.04 to beat his his teammate Warren Smith (11.50) and in the 200 metre he clocked 22.68 seconds for the victory.

Wint took the  Boys' Class 4 100-200 double. He won the 100-metre final in 11.93 seconds to beat Herbert Morrison's Deandre Daley (12.04) and returned later to take the 200 in 24.50, again beating Daley (24.81) into second.

Haye took the Girls' Class 2 100-200 double. She easily won the 100 in 12.03 seconds to beat STETHS' Tasheka Corwdell and Spot Valley's Leyone Smith, who were both credited with the same time - 12.49. Haye closed the double with a 24.35 clocking in the 200-metre final, a time good enough to easily turn back the challenge of  Maggotty High's Desonya McKnight (25.00) and Lewisville's Samantha Morrris (25.39).

The Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship is a five-series development meet for high schools, which comprises four regional meets and a Grand Finale - the GC Foster Classics - at the National Stadium on March 10.

The Digicel Grand Prix events are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus, 4x400m relay, medley relay and the 400m hurdles

For the Grand Prix Series, athletes are placed in two age categories used by the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association. For the males (Class 1 athletes compete in one age category, while Class 2 and Class 3 athletes complete in the other age category) and for females (Class 1 and 2 compete in one age category and Class 3 and 4 in the other age category).

This means that only the fastest time in a Grand Prix event in each age category at each of the four regional meets automatically qualify for the Grand Finale. As a result, the four automatic winners in each of the 10 Digicel Grand Prix event from the four regional meets will be joined by the next four best to compete in the Grand Prix Finale.

The Digicel Grand Prix series has attracted cash prizes.

One again, school teams (boys and girls) will vie for the title of Digicel Grand Prix champion and $1 million each towards gym equipment or development of their school’s training facilities.

There will also be an overall second and third place cash prizes of $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.

Record-breaking athletes at the Grand Prix Finale - the GC Foster Classics at the National Stadium on March 10 - will be rewarded with cash for their schools.

Digicel will pay $25,000 for each championship record and $50,000 for each national junior record.

In addition, Digicel will reward every athlete who qualifies to run at the Grand Prix Finale with $5,000 each for their school. 

There will also be cash prizes for the top three finishers (boys and girls) at each of the four regional meets. First place is guaranteed $250,000, with second getting $100,000 and third place, $50,000.

Coaches will also be rewarded with cash prizes between $20,000 to $50,000.

This year, with SportsMax as the media production partners for all five meets, event content will be even more accessible for the public through live broadcasts and via the Play Go app for track enthusiasts on the go.

 

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