Good start

All set as Jamaica begin hunt at PanAm Juniors

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Friday, July 19, 2019

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Jamaica is well poised to get off to a good start at the 20th Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships that starts this morning at the National Stadium here, with 19 members of the 40-strong team set to compete today.

Sprinters Brian Williams and Oblique Seville, men's discus thrower Kai Chang, long jumper Wayne Pinnock, as well as male quarter-miler Anthony Cox are all set to compete on today's first day, where the Jamaicans will be seeking to get into nine finals.

Today is the only day where there will be two sessions, with an afternoon session tomorrow and a morning session on Sunday and 457 athletes from 36 countries taking part.

Michael McIntosh, Jamaica's head coach, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the expectations were for a good start.

“We are set up for a good start with some of our top athletes and that should give us the fillip and drive the team forward through the weekend,” he said.

McIntosh, who spoke to the Observer during a heavy downpour that delayed the start of the light training session, said: “The last group [of athletes] arrived late Wednesday [and] all are now here, [so] it's all systems go.”

Eleven Jamaicans will run in the morning session, with Briana Williams and national Under-20 champion Kemba Nelson leading off in the semi-finals of the women's 100m.

Both were in Mexico two weeks ago at the NACAC Championships of where Williams set a new championships record 11.11 seconds while winning the Under-18 title, while Nelson was a finalist in the Under-23 section.

Seventeen year-old Williams, who could be running her final championship as a junior, says she has mixed feelings about her move to the seniors full time next year.

“It's kinda sad to be running your last junior meet, but I am excited to be getting ready to join the seniors,” said the US-based runner who will also compete at the Pan-American Games in Peru later this year.

“I feel great, fully recovered from the meet in Mexico and can't wait to see what comes here in Costa Rica,” she added.

The matchup between Seville and American Matthew Boling will be one of the highlights of the day, both running a personal best of 10.13 seconds this year, with the Jamaican doing it twice.

Yesterday, Seville who will contest the 100m with Michael Stephens, says he is ready to let his legs do the talking.

“Its good to know you are ahead of the field as far as times are concerned... I have nothing to prove, but we will see on the day [as] I am 100 per cent ready,” he said.

Cox, who ran a personal best 45.79 seconds this year, says he hopes to end his junior career on a high.

“I just want to come out here and do my best... the track is not looking as good as I expected, but we will all run on it,” he noted.

Bovel McPherson will be the second Jamaican in the men's 400m today, while Shaqueena Foote and Anna-Kay Allen will contest the women's quarter mile.

Akeem Cargill will be the lone Jamaican in the men's 110-m hurdles event, while Crystal Morrison and Akera Nugent, who were first and second, respectively, in the NACAC Under-20, will line up in the 100-m hurdles semis.

In the afternoon, Chang, the IAAF World Under-20 gold medallist, will lead the way when he lines up in the discus throw along with Ralford Mullings. IAAF bronze medallist Wayne Pinnock and Shaquille Lowe will hunt medals in the men's long jump, while Lotavia Brown and Shantae Foreman will contest the women's event as Tyrese Reid and Tyrise Taylor take part in the semi-finals of the men's 800m.


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