CRICKET:St John’s, Antigua (WICB):West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President, Dave Cameron, is expressing heartiest congratulations on behalf of the board and management to the players and management of the under 19 team which won the ICC World Cup for the first time.Cameron credited the over 15 months of preparation the team underwent, which he thinks “gave them the tools necessary to win the title”.The five-wicket win, Cameron said yesterday, “was intense, but the players showed (the) resilience and patience required to take them through to the very end. “The region is proud this morning of the achievements of this team and we see a clear path to the development of our future stars.”He added: “This was a comprehensive team effort and this is indicative of how we would like to move forward with all categories of our game.”It was a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift to all the people in the Caribbean,” Cameron said, noting that he also wanted to highlight the contribution of the families of the young men.He said the team will be appropriately recognised once they return home.WIPA congratulates teamKINGSTON:The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to the members of the West Indies Under-19 team, on their success at the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 in Bangladesh.The present West Indies Under-19 Cricketer of the Year award winner, Shimron Hetmyer, led the team admirably with tactical and strategic execution. Hetmyer, his teammates and the support staff are the first West Indian team to lift the Under-19 World Cup trophy.WIPA President and CEO, Wavell Hinds, said: “These young men played with passion and heart and deserved to be the world champions. They carried the hopes of all West Indians from the first preparation game against Bangladesh right through to the final of the World Cup and did everyone proud.”Hinds continued: “This success augurs well for the future of West Indies cricket and the strong belief many West Indians have that one day West Indies cricket will again rise to the top of world cricket. Congratulations again to all members of the team, including the management and support staff.”
Courtesy of a fast and determined anchor leg by Javauney James, St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) won the most exciting race in a rainy 40th staging of the Gibson McCook Relays.James rallied to pull STETHS ahead of St Jago High School in the boys’ 4×800 metres, to stop the clock in 7:35.08 seconds. His brilliance help his school to record the fourth fastest time in the 40-year history of the relays.St Jago slipped away when Paul Tate, STETHS’ reigning Boys’ Championships Class One 800m champion, struggled on the third leg. Tate laboured through his leg in one minute 56 seconds, a far cry from his seasonal best 1.54.94 seconds and his lifetime best of 1.52.94.To make thing worse for James, St Jago’s Class Two star Keenan Lawrence smoothly ran a 1.53.5 leg to stretch the lead over STETHS to 3.4 seconds. Then 2015 World Youth 800-metre finalist Leon Clarke looked to have an unassailable lead.LAST-MINUTE WINRemarkably, James caught him and outraced him in the last 100 metres.James finished the STETHS triumph with a storming 1.50.6 anchor. That was much faster than his personal best in the individual event of 1.53.27. The performance marked him as the favourite to add gold in Class One to the Boys’ Championship wins to those he secured in Class Two and Class Three in 2014 and 2013.He lost his Class Two crown last year to Clarke. The tall St Jago boy has seasonal and lifetime bests of 1.52.45 and 1.50.49. His Gibson McCook anchor was timed in 1.54.5.Only Kingston College, holders of the meet record at seven minutes 33.87 seconds, and STETHS have ever ran the 4x800m faster at the Gibson-McCook Relays.When KC set the record last year, STETHS were second in 7.34.78, with both teams under the old standard, set at 7.34.96 by STETHS in 1994.
The greatest show on earth (for children) is over. The Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships (Champs) lived up to its billing and pre-Championships hype. I estimate that more than the reported maximum capacity of 30,000 people were in the National Stadium for the final day on Saturday, April 19, 2016. The talent on show over the previous five days proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jamaica is indeed the ‘Sprint Capital of the World’. However, the female standout of the Championships, Junelle Bromfield of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), cannot be described as a “sprinter”. The remarkable Jamaican child ran in the preliminaries and finals for the girls 400 metres, 800 metres and 1500 metres, before anchoring her team to victory in the 4×400-metre relay final on Saturday night. For those who came in late, Miss Bromfield ran (and won) the 1500-metre race on Friday, then the 400-metre final on Saturday afternoon, completing the distance in 51.74 seconds, the fastest time for a Junior in the world this year. She returned to the track two hours later to win the 800-metre finals, capping the day with anchoring her team to victory in the 4×400-metre relay finals! This 18-year-old from STETHS is not only an athletic phenom, but impressively, she is also a medical marvel. Having exhausted the source of energy (carbohydrate stores) day after day, she obviously replenished those stores enough to complete the demolition of all her rivals in winning race after race and earning four gold medals. The only problem now is what next? What will happen to this young Jamaican star when she transitions to racing against adults? Unfortunately, previous middle-distance stars from Champs have not gone on to victory (and glory) at the world (adult) level. Burnout kills performance The reasons for this lack of success in the adult middle distance world varies from genetics to burnout. Genetics because of the preponderance of fast-twitch fibres in muscle biopsies of Jamaican athletes and burnout because of poor handling of these teenage stars on transition to adult competition. Maybe, just maybe, a ‘Junelle Bromfield National Project’ can correct this glaring anomaly. That project would entail the burying of egos as the nation unites spiritually and financially in managing and preparing this rare talent for world supremacy. I suggest that the start would be allowing her to concentrate on the 800 metres alone, as that is where her best chance for international glory lies. Then what about the Class Two phenom, Christopher Taylor? This remarkable young man ran a jaw dropping 20.8 seconds in the 200-metre preliminaries (a record), 46.33 seconds in the 400-metre preliminaries, another record, going on to win gold in both finals. He then ran a leg in Calabar High’s victorious Class Two 4×100-metre relay, before capping off the night with a relay leg for the ages, anchoring his team to victory in the Open 4×400-metre relay finals. LATTER WIN This latter win came in spite of an unofficial 400-metre split time of 44.5 from Class One 400-metre champion, Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College. Taylor ran an unofficial split (hand-timed) of 45.3 seconds, as he bided his time for his devastating final kick in the last 100 metres. Taylor has run faster times than the world’s greatest sprinter, Usain Bolt, at a similar stage of his career. Let us handle him with care. Finally, congratulations to Asafa Powell on his silver medal in the World Indoor 60-metre final on Saturday. Unfortunately, once again, the rounds took their toll. So far, changing coaches has not made much of a difference. An Olympic gold medal would silence those who remember the words of the great Stephen Francis: “No athlete who leaves my camp improves his/her times.” We (Jamaicans) are blessed with athletic talent. Champs 2017 cannot come too soon.