By Noel 'Bravo' Francis, Special


The fans will be on their feet throughout the exciting relays in all classes. I must remind everyone that efficient baton passing in the three exchange zones and not necessarily, the fastest team on paper will win. If the baton goes around, all relay records in these sprints will be under threat. Last year Kingston College won two out of the three sprint relays, Classes 1 and 3 while Jamaica College took Class 2 in record fashion. Calabar will be aiming to reverse the fortunes of last year and win two out of three in this section in 2014.

4X100-Metre Class 1

In Class 1, the main contenders are St. Jago, Calabar, K.C., Wolmers and J.C. The ‘famed purples’ won last year in 39.85 seconds and will be seeking to win this event three years in a row. I firmly believe that with the inclusion of Zharnel Hughes this current K.C. team is far superior to last year’s winners. However, Calabar and St. Jago also have powerful squads that can prevent K.C’s continued dominance. An unfortunate baton foul up on the anchor leg at the Gibson Relays robbed track fans of a tantalizing home stretch duel between archrivals Kingston College and Calabar High School.

The ‘Green Hornets’ shattered the Gibson 4×100-metres record in the process with a staggering time of 39.61 seconds. Kingston College fans though disappointed would rather have a mishap at the Gibson Relays where no points are at stake than at Boys & Girls championships where there is no room for error. With the tension surrounding this one, we hope there will be no more errors. It would be a marvelous spectacle to see three schoolboy teams (KC, Calabar & St. Jago) running below 40 seconds in the same race. The fans would be thrilled if Hughes of K.C. and O’Hara of Calabar receive the baton at the same time on the anchor leg. I expect the ‘Champs’ record 39.78 seconds set by St. Jago High School in 2008 to be lowered. The fans will not be able to contain themselves in this rare classic. Watch St. Jago High School closely as they could silence the Calabar and K.C. supporters.

4X100-Metre Relay Class 2

Kingston College should win this event by wide a margin and further drive its supporters into wild excitement. This record-breaking quartet is currently on a purple patch and firm favourites to collect the maximum 12 points in this event. The chasing pack of Calabar, St. Jago High, Jamaica College and Camperdown could push the ‘Fortis’ quartet to possibly establishing a new ‘Champs’ record in this relay event. The ‘famed purples’ has looked invincible all season; they turned on the emergency sirens at the Milo Western Relays with a sizzling 40.84 clocking and followed up with a commanding display at the recent Gibson Relays with another record run of 40.65 seconds. The existing ‘Champs’ record of 40.54 seconds that was set last year by Jamaica College is now in K.C.’s cross hairs and probably on life support.

4×100-Metre Relay Class 3

Some persons believe it will take something drastic for Calabar to lose this event. This phenomenal quartet is on course to rewrite the history books and take us into a new time zone. This Calabar team has already driven fear into their opponents with their record-breaking performance at the Gibson Relays becoming the only quartet in that age group to ever run under 42 seconds. If they can duplicate that performance 41.83 seconds, then the race will be on for 2nd and 3rd place among Kingston College, St. Jago and Jamaica College. The ‘Champs’ record 42.36 established last year by Kingston College now as a March 29, 2014 expiry date.

4X400-Metre Open

Another big race that might decide the where the trophy goes. All the top teams possess at least two very good runners in their arsenal; however, it takes a quartet to win this race. I expect an all-out WAR among Calabar, Kinston College, St. Jago, Jamaica College and STETHS. The penultimate and anchor legs should decide this race and have the packed stadium riveted, hoarse and jumping on their feet.

At the recent Gibson Relays, any doubts persons had about Calabar’s chances of winning this event at ‘Champs’ were erased in emphatic fashion. It started with the irrepressible Michael O’Hara who brought the Calabar team back into the contest after a remarkable third leg where he made up a 25-metre advantage St. Jago had accumulated. Calabar’s anchor specialist and World Championships 4x400m relay silver medallist Javon Francis collected the baton from O’Hara a few metres behind St. Jago High’s Martin Manley overtook him at the 200m mark like a trailer truck and led his team to a new meet record 3:07.00. I believe that particular moment could have a lasting psychological effect on Martin Manley. It seemed Martin Manley who is the World Youth Champion was surprised by the bold move made by Francis or did not realize what occurred, as thereafter he seemed unsettled and did not display his usually composed persona for the remainder of the race. 

Manley’s response the next time when leading Francis will be a true test of his mental strength and confidence in his abilities. By this time, the viewing public will know the individual winner of the 400m dash and an encore performance is expected. We now wait anxiously to see what will happen at ‘Champs’ because it is believed Calabar can go much faster as their very slow first leg runner at the Gibson Relays seemed to have been a one-off experiment. It will also be interesting to see who runs the third leg for St. Jago High School. The ‘Champs’ record of 3:09.21 set by Munro College last year should vanish all things being equal. Can Manley turn the tables and become a hero? Will Francis crown himself in glory in his final race at ‘Champs’?

Last but certainly not least is this year’s new 8x50m relay feature involving the school principals’ schedule to run off at 6:40 p:m on Saturday. This will be a lighthearted moment for the spectators as I understand the educators are promising they will run flat out. I am really looking forward to this event.

Thanks for sharing your time and comments with me. I hope to continue informing, educating and entertaining you all in the future. I would like to thank for providing me with this forum to share my talent and passion with a wonderful audience. Peace, good health and love to everyone.


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