KINGSTON, Jamaica (Sporting Alert) — Defending champions Calabar High have emerged as the new favourites to retain the men’s title at the Jamaica High School Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, which begins at the National Stadium in Kingston, at 2:00 pm on Tuesday.
The five day championships will conclude on Saturday.
At the start of last weekend the annual “Champs Preview Magazine” predicted that Kingston College (KC) would have finished ahead of Calabar by two points — with the expected top two final scores listed as 306 points for KC and C’Bar earning 304.
However, media reports have suggested that a few of KC’s big earners will not be fully fit, which could contribute to them losing points in the title chase.
It is understood that Class Two sprint star Nathaniel Bann, who was expected to contribute heavily for KC, will not feature at all as he failed to recover from a muscle injury he picked up earlier this year.
It is still unclear as to whether fellow sprint ace Jevaughn Matherson is at his best again — although his camp is reporting that he is fully fit and will compete.
“It will be a tough challenge, but it’s not beyond us and we are quite capable. I am just hoping that the boys will rise to the occasion, and in my mind it will be a close one,” KC’s head coach Neil Harrison, who is in his first season, told the Jamaica Observer.
“This Champs is going to count on the optimally rounded effort of the team.
“If you are going to win this championship, you have to come good in all the different classes and I believe we are quite capable, quite competent in all classes,” Harrison added in the paper.
Veteran Calabar coach Michael Clarke is reporting that his team is fully fit and he too is confident in the preparations done ahead of Champs.
“We are confident what our preparations have brought us thus far and we are waiting to see what it will bring us,” Clarke was quoted as saying in the Jamaica Observer.
“Our strength lies right across. We don’t have any specific areas.”
On the women’s side, meanwhile, defending champions Edwin Allen High are ready to repeat as champions with head coach Michael Dyke revealing that this year’s squad is the most balanced setup they’ve had in years.
“This is the most balanced team we have had in a long time and we will score points just about everywhere,” Dyke told the Observer.
Edwin Allen High, who rattled up over 330 points to win last year’s girls’ title very comfortably — are expected to have thing their way again this season as they seek their third title in four years and earn back-to-back crowns for the first time.
The main expected challengers are Holmwood Technical, St Jago High and Hydel, but the light blues should be too strong to handle.