By Noel 'Bravo' Francis, Special toTrackAlerts.com
In this feature, we will be looking at two jumping events that have been generating some interest since the CARIFTA trials. In Jamaica, the field events category is not deemed as one of the glamour events; however, the athletes in those disciplines are slowly getting the respect they deserve.
Travis Smikle’s bronze medal in the discus throw at the 2009 World Youth Championships probably inspired his former Calabar Frederick Dacres consecutive gold medal efforts in the same event at the World Youth Championships in 2011 and World Junior Championships in 2012. Last year Christoffe Bryan won the bronze medal in the boys’ high jump at the World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The enthusiasm shown in the triple and high jumps over the last few years is very encouraging and maybe in the near future the country will win medals on a regular basis in these disciplines. Fans will be looking keenly at the following Class I event at ‘Champs’ this year.
High Jump Class 1
The final stages of high jump competitions in Jamaica are usually the time when the crowds’ interest is peaked and they get involved and give their full support with handclaps and whistling. One of the reasons for this could be that persons find it more appealing than the long distance races occurring simultaneously.
The Class 1 high jump competition this year at ‘Champs’ is not necessarily a foregone conclusion as many track fans believe, anything can happen as seen at the recent CARIFTA trials. Overwhelming favourite Christoffe Bryan of Wolmer’s Boys on his day should win easily, however, his last place finish at the CARIFTA trials where he failed to clear any of the heights attempted shows he can have bad days. ‘Champs’ will be taken more seriously.
His main challenge could come from Clayton Brown of Jamaica College. Brown has been soaring to new heights this year and won the CARIFTA trials with a clearance of 2.13m. He has been a consistent performer throughout the season winning the J.C./Pure Water Invitational meet jumping 2.05m. He then won at the Douglas Forrest Invitational with a 2.10m clearance and the Youngster Goldsmith meet with a 2.12m clearance.
It should be a very interesting jumping display from these two, with Bryan expected to come out on top based on his pedigree. Bryan easily defeated Brown at the Gibson Relays when he cleared 2.20m to Brown’s 2.10m. The Wolmerian usually skips the preliminaries and sets the bar at his own height similar to what Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva does in pole vault competitions.
The competition will actually begin when the other competitors reach Bryan’s benchmark. His personal best is 2.21m and he holds the ‘Champs’ record at 2.19m established last year. However, nothing is guaranteed in the high jump, victory will go to the athlete who remains healthy and jumps the highest with the least mistakes on the day.
Triple Jump Class 1
Last year Clive Pullen of Kingston College established a new record of 15.83m in a masterful display. I expect a very competitive field to gather this year to do battle against wind, gravity and sand. Jamaica College was the dominant force in Class 2 jumping events last year and two of those young men will be seeking further glory in Class 1 this year.
Obrien Waysome and Clayton Brown will be aiming for maximum points for the ‘dark blues’ in this event. Both athletes jumped over 15.7m at the recent CARIFTA trials with Waysome winning the Under-18 category and Brown placing second in the Under-20 section to Cornwall College’s phenomenon Odaine Lewis who leapt 15.86m.
Outside of Odaine Lewis and the wind conditions, the J.C. pair should get stiff competition from Jordan Scott of Campion College, Anthony Bailey of Munro College, Rajay Mills of Excelsior, Michane Ricketts of Edwin Allen and Calabar’s Travis Riley. If Gavin Gibson who transferred from J.C. to K.C. is eligible to compete, then this final will be action-packed like the boxing contender series. Will Lewis erase Pullen’s record? Will the J.C. tag team come out on top?