Sports

Puma Gibson McCook Relays come alive today

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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The National Stadium will buzz with excitement today as the 43rd staging of the Puma Gibson McCook Relays is expected to showcase the “big guns” as they go in pursuit of glory and attractive prize monies.

Action gets under way at 9:00 am with the 4x400m preliminaries followed by pole vault final at 10:15 am. The women's high jump final will be followed by the men's long jump final. There will be a break at 2:30 pm followed by the opening ceremony at 3:30 pm.

The event is scheduled to finish at 9:00 pm with the running of the 4x400m finals.

Defending ISSA Boys' champions Calabar High make a return to the event after skipping last year and are expected to make their presence felt by winning the Class One 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m and 4x800m relays, if at full strength. The likes of Christopher Taylor, Dejour Russell and Michael Stephens will have no match class.

But Kingston College (KC) and Jamaica College (JC) will be right there and the 4x800m might just turn out to be the race of meet as the top three teams are extremely strong.

Calabar will start favourites with Kimar Farqurharson, Rivaldo Marshall, Kevroy Venson and Devannah Gayle; JC with Rushane Fullerton, Dugie Blackman, Fabian Campbell and J'Voughnn Blake, while KC, who broke the Western Relays record will again be depending on Tarees Rhoden, Conroy Ellis, Malick Savery and the twin brothers Gianni and Giouvanni Henry. The record of 7:32.76 minutes held by St Jago since 2017 could fall.

KC are expected to dominate Class Two ahead of St Jago and Calabar, while JC should have their way in Class Three, but could be upstaged by KC. Class Four should also see the “Purples” reign supreme.

On the girls' section, Edwin Allen High are expected to dominate ahead of Holmwood Technical, Hydel High and St Jago. All eyes will be on that special Class Two Edwin Allen team led by Kevona Davis, while their Class Three with the Clayton twins — Tia and Tina — will take some beating. St Jago's Bryanna Lyston might have something to say about that though.

There should be some exciting races in the clubs and institutions events with MVP, Racers and Sprintec, G C Foster College, UWI and UTech putting on a spectacle.

In previous years there was no prize money offered by the meet organisers, but last year, communications sponsors Digicel introduced a $150,000 prize for the performance of the meet which went to Zarnel Hughes for his performance in the men's 100m. The best-performing boys' and girls' schools overall also received a prize of $100,000 each.

This year, record breakers in championship events will collect $75,000 each for their efforts, something that is sure to catch the attention of coaches of the various schools entered for the relays.


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