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Champs 2023 | Cole’s injury big blow to Edwin Allen

TOP TEAMS experienced fluctuating fortunes on Wednesday’s second day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

Defending girls’ champions Edwin Allen suffered a big blow before the final of the Class One 100 metres last night as pre-race favourite and World Under-20 silver medallist Serena Cole was pulled from the meet. Both Cole and Alana Reid of rival school Hydel High were expected to have a gigantic clash in the final after Reid clocked 11.16 to win her semi-final, and Cole had won her semi-final in 11.17.

In Cole’s absence, Reid clocked 10.92 seconds to shatter Veronica Campbell’s previous record of 11.13, which was set over two decades ago in 2001.

“I had no other choice but to pull Serena from the 100 metres final and the remainder of the Championships as she suffered a hamstring injury,” said Edwin Allen High’s head coach Michael Dyke. “I pulled her as her health comes first.”

Cole’s absence from the remainder of the meet, where she was also one of the favourites to win the Class One long jump, could swing the Championships in Hydel’s favour.

Also, Edwin Allen failed to exploit Hydel’s weakness in the middle-distance events as the defending champions dropped crucial points in all classes in the 1500 metres. Their biggest casualty came in Class Three, where the previously unbeaten Kevongaye Fowler struggled to a fifth-place finish in the final.

With their good showing in the semi-finals of the 400 metres, in all three classes, Hydel look well set to score quality points in today’s finals. On the other hand, Edwin Allen struggled in the semi-finals and will find it difficult to score big.

On the boys’ side, Jamaica College (JC) registered a quinella in the Class Two long jump final early in the day. But the pendulum swung in Kingston College’s (KC) favour after the 1500-metre races, where the defending champions dominated to outscore their rivals 35-19, with their Class Two runners getting maximum points after a 1-2 finish.

Later in the day, JC picked up valuable points in the field after a 1-3 finish in the Class One long jump final, where KC failed to score here.

“One day at a time,” said KC’s coach Leaford Grant. “I am pleased with today’s performances as most of our athletes have advanced.”

His team’s leading sprinter, Nkrumie Bouwahjgie, obliterated the record in the 100 metres final, winning in 9.99 seconds. The previous record, 10.12 seconds, was held by former KC schoolboy Zharnel Hughes, who had registered the time in 2014.

“Amazing performance from Nkrumie and I am pretty sure this will give the other boys inspiration to perform going forward,” Grant noted.

Today’s third day of competition will again be very crucial for the top contenders. Seven finals will be contested among the girls and six by the boys.

Points (top three)

Boys: JC 74, KC 61, Calabar 29.

Girls: Edwin Allen 55, Holmwood 41, Hydel 39.