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Eyes on the mark at Payne Classic

EZRA STUART, [email protected]

Eyes on the mark at Payne Classic

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Top junior athletes will be in a rush to qualify for Easter’s CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas, when the Joseph Payne Memorial Classic gets going today at the National Stadium.

After ten juniors hit the benchmark at last Saturday’s January Classic, more athletes will be seeking early qualification ahead of their various schools sports, which start next month.

Some senior athletes will also be going after qualification for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.

The track programme, which will be enhanced by the presence of six overseas competitors from the Kaizen Panthers Athletic Club in Trinidad and Tobago, will start at noon with the Swedish Medley relays (100, 100, 200, 400) for the boys and girls in the Under-13 and Under-15 age group. These will be followed by the 400 metres for the Under-17s, Under-20s and Seniors from 12:45 p.m.

The 100 metres sprints are slated to begin at 2:05 p.m. with the Letitia Gilkes and Orlando Greene 800s set for 3:50 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

There will be 200 metres for the Under-11s and Under-20s from 4:15 p.m., paving the way for the Men’s and Women’s 5-K which will start inside the Stadium at 4:45 p.m. before going into the neighbouring districts and returning to the starting point.

The list of competitors suggest the men’s 800 metres should be one of the most riveting races of the day, with the best half-milers in the land looking to dip under the CARIFTA requirement of one minute, 55 seconds for Under-20 boys.

Reigning CARIFTA Under-20 champion Jonathan Jones will be the favourite despite the presence of the older Joshua Hunte.

The women’s 800 should also be intriguing with a showdown between Shonita Brome, Charissa Moore and Asia Foster.  

After last week’s 200 metres victory, Elite’s Ashlee Lowe will battle Velocity’s sprinter Hannah Connell in the Under-20 girls’ 100 metres as they chase the CARIFTA standard of 11.80 seconds.

Also entered are Rising Stars’ Shemia Odaine and Andriena Mason and Velocity’s Tamika Inniss.

The men’s 400 metres should be electrifying, with Nicholas Deshong, Antoni Hoyte-Small, Deshon Trent, Josiah Atkins, the Norgrove brothers (Fabian and Kemar), Raheem Taitt-Best, Delano Wickham and Jamahl Burke battling for supremacy.

Field events will be held from noon as well. With Triston Gibbons already qualifying in the shot put and discus, Enrique Babb, who has moved into the Under-20 division, and Seth Edwards will be aiming for the 48.50 metres to qualify for the discus.

Rising Stars’ Antonio Farrell and The Lodge School’s Ryshon Williams will have their sights set on the 2.05 metres requirement for the Under-20 Boys’ high jump. Similarly, Freedom Striders’ Yuriko Harewood will be targeting the Under-20 Girls’ high jump standard of 1.70 metres.

High Performance Programme’s Jamie Drayton and Springer Memorial’s Shonte Seale will battle Safiya John of Tobago’s Kaizen Panthers in trying to leap 5.80 metres in the Under-20 girls’ long jump.

Elite’s Romancia Odwin will begin her quest to put the shot 13 metres, as required for the Under-20 girls, while Justin Adams-Yearwood, Babb and Edwards will all be hoping to hurl the shot 15.50 metres as they get competition from Trinidadian Franklyn Stanislaus.

After qualifying last Saturday with a leap of 7.21 metres, Antonio Greaves will now tackle Trinidadians Kelsey Daniel and Stanislaus in the Open Men’s long jump, which will also see Barry Batson and Antonio Weekes in action. (EZS)