By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis
The Gibson McCook Relays has a magnetic appeal which brings together a number of top athletes from Jamaica, the Caribbean and other parts of the World face to face in what can be considered a true test of character. This is the final of a two part series featuring some of the most anticipated events and performers.
Boys Class 2 4x200m
Two years ago an outstanding Kingston College quartet of Akeem Bloomfield, Nathaniel Bann, Dontre Williams and Jhevaughn Matherson set an incredible record (1:25.30) in this event. Many feel this Calabar unit is equally talented at the same stage of their development. The boys from Red Hills Road are extremely confident and running at the peak of their powers. The question is – Can they achieve the same goals as the fabulous four from North Street?
Clubs & Institutions
One of the amazing things about the Gibson McCook Relays is that the fans get a chance to witness many of Jamaica’s greatest track and field stars. This popular meet holds a special place in their hearts from their formative years and for some it is mandatory to turn out every year. This being an Olympic year a number of international athletes may use the event as part of their build up. Spectators will be eager to see some of the big names from MVP, Racers Track Club, Sprint Tech, UTECH, U.W.I and Cameron Blazers put on a great show.
Boys’ 4x800m open
Last year Kingston College (7:33.87) prevailed over a powerful STETHS team (7:34.78) in an exciting finish. Both schools ran under the old record (7:34.96). At the recent Milo Western Relays, STETHS (7:41.44) defeated the famed purples by ‘donkey lengths’ while eclipsing the Western Champs meet record (7:45.08) by over 3 seconds. At this year’s Gibson McCook Relays many expect a dangerous looking St. Jago High with Keenan Lawrence and Leon Clarke to put up a formidable challenge and be in the mix of things.
The first few laps should see a tightly bunched group before ‘the men separate from the boys’. Despite this event being a relay it is customary to see a few teams being lapped as evidenced last year much to the enjoyment of observers. This race will make you stand up and cheer.
Girls’ 4x400m open
This penultimate event should be another cracking relay encounter. Four schools, Holmwood Tech, Edwin Allen, St. Jago High and STETHS should leave the fans ecstatic Saturday night provided they reach in time and qualify from the heats which are run very early in the morning. Some of the big names to look out for in this exciting event are Junelle Bromfield (STETHS), Ashley Williams (Holm), Alesha Kelly & Andrenette Knight (St. Jago) and Shannon Kalawan (Edwin Allen). The anchor leg runners should revive memories of Jamaica versus U.S.A in the women’s 4x400m at last year’s World Championship.
Boys’ 4x400m open
This event should bring the curtains down on another successful staging of the Gibson McCook Relays. Traditionally the 4x400m is one of the best races of any championship from high school to the world stage. The usual suspects Calabar, Jamaica College, Kingston College, St. Jago and STETHS have very strong teams and will be battling for supremacy with a morale boosting victory. Fans will be cheering on the fleet-footed Chris Taylor (Calabar), the fast & powerful Akeem Bloomfield (KC), Jauavney James and Nigel Ellis (STETHS), Devaughn Baker (JC) and Leon Clarke (St. Jago). It would be a fitting climax if this one comes down to the final lap. Do not blink.
Editor's Note: Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis is a very exciting and creative freelance sports writer specializing in the fields of athletics and cricket. His colourful down to earth yet professional personality makes him a favourite amongst athletes and fans. Readers are often exposed to his detailed knowledge and passion which usually increase their interest in the athletes, events and the sport overall. He has a first degree in Banking & Finance and works in the financial industry. Contact Noel at [email protected]