Champs 2019: Taylor looks uncomfortable on Day 1; JC suffer setbacks
Christopher Taylor won Heat 1 of the Boys' Class 1 200m in 21.69 seconds on the opening day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Tuesday, March 26, but looked as if he was feeling pain when coming off the curve.
Eight-time defending boys’ champions Calabar High and Kingston College (KC) both had fairly good opening day at the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
However, Jamaica College (JC) which are expected to challenge the top two schools suffered two mishaps on the day.
JC, under the guidance of Neil Harrison, who left KC after last season’s championships, saw one of their top athletes eliminated on the day.
Tajay Broomfield, the gold medal favourite for the Boys’ javelin throw open, missed out on the final.
Broomfield failed to continue his superb performance leading up to the championships and could only manage 44.57m, an effort which was not good enough to take him out of the preliminary round.
Broomfield has a personal-best throw of 59.56m achieved at the Central Hurdles and Relays Championships in January.
KC’s Akeel Hanchard is the top qualifier with an effort of 54.76m, ahead of the Calabar High pair of Odayne Harris (54.41) and Shadane Adamson (52.37).
Brandon McLaren of Rusea’s High and Santino Anglin of Petersfield High, the silver and bronze medal winners from last year, are also safely through to the final.
McLaren qualified for the final with an effort of 50.76m and Anglin with 50.58.
There was another mishap for JC as Kemarrio Bygrave was among nine athletes who were disqualified from the Boys’ Class 3 800m.
Meanwhile, Calabar High top sprinter Christopher Taylor looked very uncomfortable on his way to victory in Heat 1 of the Boys’ Class 1 200m.
Taylor won the heat in 21.69 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals but was obviously feeling discomfort based on his reaction when coming off the curve.
Taylor and his team-mate De’Jour Russell received widespread calls to be banned from competing at the championships after they were both accused of assaulting a teacher at the school.
The school’s Physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw formally reported to the police a December 15, 2018, alleged assault by top athletes.
Shaw, who heads Calabar's Physics department, stated that “Christopher Taylor draped mi up and let me know dat it's 'track man' run the school."
The teacher reported that Russell knocked his phone from his hand and stomped on it.
But the school ignored the calls to pull the Taylor and Russell from the championships.
Taylor is the reigning Class 1 200m champion, while Russell has broken the Class 1 110m hurdles record two years in a row.
Both Taylor and Russell are big favourites to win gold medals for Calabar in what is expected to be a very close race for the boys' title.
Russell did not compete on the day as only two of the four sprint hurdles got underway. Classes 1 and 2 will start with the semi-finals on Friday.
Calabar suffered a slight setback on the day as Chadwick Stewart pulled up in Heat 5 of the Boys’ Class 1 200m.
One of the most anticipated event this year will be the Boys’ Class 1 800m and the four top contenders have safely negotiated the preliminary round.
Enid Bennett High's Tyrice Taylor, who is expected to break the long-standing Champs record, will enter the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier.
Tyrice Taylor proved a cut above the field in the opening heat with a 1:55.64 clocking.
The other top contenders – Spot Valley’s Tyrese Reid (1:56.81), Calabar High’s Kimar Farquharson (1:57.97) and JC’s Dugion Blackman (1:56.78) – also won their preliminary round heats.
Tyrice Taylor is the gold medal favourite after he turned back a strong field at the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championships to clock an impressive 1:48.85 seconds, a time which was just one-hundredth of a second outside Vere Technical's Sherwin Burgess' Champs record of 1:48.84 done 32 years ago.
KC will be represented in the semi-finals by Tarees Rhoden (1:58.55) and Conroy Ellis (1:58.17), while Calabar have another athlete in Daniel Cunningham (1:59.09).
In the Boys’ Class 2 800m, KC’s Gianni Henry is the top qualifier with 2:00.82, followed by Calabar High’s David Martin (2:01.04) and JC’s J’Voughnn Blake (2:01.14). Giovouni Henry, the brother of Gianni, has the fourth fastest qualifying time of 2:03.59.
In the Boys’ Class 3 800m, Bellefield High’s Tavaughn Martin has the fastest qualifying time of 2:02.85 ahead of KC’s Jaquan Coke (2:04.13) and the St Jago High pair of Alex Taylor (2:08.28) and Nataniel McLeod (2:08.48).
The semi-finals will take place on Thursday.
Clarendon College’s Rajay Morris is the top qualifier in the Boys’ Class 1 200m with a time of 21.16 followed by Wolmer’s High School’s Xavier Nairne (21.20) and KC’s Jevaughn J Powell (21.22).
Taylor’s 21.69 effort is the sixth fastest time going into the final.
Calabar High’s Corey Ottey and Green Island High’s Kalani Cook are the fastest qualifiers in the Boys’ Class 2 200m with identical times of 21.74. KC’s Adrian Kerr is next with a time of 21.84.
JC’s Christopher Scott (22.01), Herbert Morrison High’s Deandre Daley (22.32) and Calabar High’s Omario Henry (23.00) are the top qualifiers in the Boys’ Class 3 200m. Scott is the big gold medal favourite.
In the field, KC’s star Wayne Pinnock showed that he will be hard to beat in the Boys’ Class 1 long jump with an effort of 7.62m in the preliminary round to qualify for the final on Wednesday.
KC will also have Shacquille Lowe (7.20m) in the final after he finished second in Flight 2 behind Michael Buchanan (7.35m) of St Elizabeth Technical High School.
The Calabar pair of Lamar Reid (6.86m) and Nikaoli Williams (6.86) are also in the final.
KC and Calabar are also well represented in the Boys’ Class 2 long jump final.
Luke Brown (7.71m) of Calabar is the top qualifier ahead of the KC pair of Jaheim Cox (7.04m) and Bouwahjgie Nkrumie (6.84m). JC’s Johnathan Brooks (6.83) has the fourth best effort.
In the girls' section, all the top athletes are safely through to the next round of their events.
Edwin Allen High's star sprinter Kevona Davis gave a preview of what to come later when she effortlessly won Heat 1 of the Girls' Class 2 200m in 23.77 seconds.
Davis was well ahead of Holmwood Technical's Sashieka Steele (24.67) and Immaculate Conception's Hughasia Fyffe (24.88).
Edwin Allen will enter the semi-finals with the two fastest qualifiers as Bethany Bridge won Heat 2 in 24.26.
St Jago’s Joanne Reid, a strong medal contender, is also through after winning Heat 3 in 24.41 for the fifth-fastest qualifying time.
Davis is the record holder in the event with a time of 22.73 seconds, which she achieved last year.
Twin sisters Tia Clayton and Tina Clayton of Edwin Allen are safely through the Girls' Class 3 200m semi-finals after winning their preliminary round heats.
Tina won Heat 1 in 24.47, while Tia took Heat 8 in 24.54.
The fastest qualifier going into the semi-finals is St Jago High's Brianna Lyston, who won Heat 2 in 23.98 seconds, the only sub 24 clocking.
Mount Alvernia High's Carleta Bernard is the second fastest qualifier with 24.17, followed by Wolmer's Mickayla Gardener (24.33), Manchester High's Asheika Smith (24.41). Tina's 24.47 and Tia's 24.54 are the fifth and sixth fastest qualifying times.
Another of the stars, Edwin Allen High's Rushana Dwyer (2:19.81) is also safely through after finishing second behind Holmwood Technical's Aliya Johnson (2:19.45) in Heat 2 of the Girls' Class 2 800m preliminary round.
Spalding High's Cheriece Cope is the fastest qualifier heading into the semi-finals with a time of 2:17.81, well clear of Johnson's 2:19.45, the second fastest qualifying time.
Edwin Allen High's Jessica McLean is next with 2:22.40 followed by last year's silver medallist Daniella Deer of Holmwood Technical with a time of 2:22.44.
A Spaulding High runner - Kishay Rowe - is also the fastest qualifier in Class 3 with 2:17.30, followed by Holmwood Technical's Jodyann Mitchell (2:17.74), Hydel High's Britana Mullings (2:18.23) and St Jago High's Subbreana Breaken (2:21.38).
In the field, all the medal contenders in the Girls' Class 1 high jump are safely through to the final after achieving the automatic qualifying mark of 1.60m.
Defending champion Lamara Distin, who was transferred from Vere Technical to Hydel High, the Edwin Allen pair of Annia Ashley and Janique Burgher and Holmwood Technical High's Faithlyn Irving are among 14 athletes who achieved the automatic qualifying mark.
Edwin Allen are expected to win their sixth straight title and seventh overall but will be strongly challenged by Holmwood Technical and Hydel High.
Wednesday's action gets started at 8:30 am with the Girls' Class 4 long jump preliminary round.
The first set of points will be awarded on the day with two girls' finals and two boys' finals.
Both girls' finals are in the throws - the Class One discus throw at 5:05 pm at and Class Two shot put at 5:30 pm.
The boys' finals are the Class 2 long jump at 3:05 pm and the Class 1 long jump at 5:50 pm.