Kingston College ready for Champs, says captain Rhoden

Observer writer

Monday, March 25, 2019

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AFTER six and a half months of preparation for what ranks as one of the greatest track and field events on the planet, thousands of athletes across Jamaica will descend on the capital city of Kingston to show their worth at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships starting tomorrow.

While most schools will be happy to participate at the event, there are a few that harbour greater ambitions. These “Champs Chasers” play for all the marbles, with the intention of leaving the National Stadium with major silverware on Saturday's final night.

One such school on the boys' side are perennial contenders Kingston College (KC). They are seen as the greatest threat to defending champions Calabar High, who are themselves determined to extend their current win streak to eight in a row come Saturday.

The North Street-based challengers have shown good signs at the various development meets leading up to Champs, and their inspirational captain Tarees Rhoden says they are both mentally and physically ready for the five-day event.

“My preparation for the championships has been great. I had an injury battling for a few months — I had a grade three tear in my knee — but I have overcome that now,” he disclosed.

KC looked good at three major development meets, namely the Gibson McCook Relays, the Digicel Anthrick Corporate Area Development Meet (CADM), and the Digicel Grand Prix Finals. They dethroned their main rivals as champions of both the CADM and the Digicel Grand Prix, which has served as a great confidence boost for the camp.

Rhoden, who has embraced his role as team captain, believes the “Purples” are ready to put on a good show.

“This year Kingston College have developed both mentally and physically. As team captain, from day one in September, I have motivated the team — so we are ready.”

According to the sixth-form student, his teammates have learned from lessons of the past and will be exhibiting the requisite patience over the five days.

“In previous years we have lost due to mishaps, so this year we have corrected those and we are taking the championships step by step,” Rhoden noted.

With nothing left to do now but run, jump and throw, the skipper says it's time to lay it all on the track and on the field.

“We have trained for it so I think we are ready — both mentally and physically. so next week we will see what happens,” he declared.

Champs 2018 was a bit of a let-down for the neutrals as Calabar ran away with the event, winning by a clear 90.5 points. However, from the look of things leading into Champs 2019 and the strength of Jamaica College in particular, the points are likely to be spread around this year.

That should make for a closer and more exciting event on Championship Saturday.

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