By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
It was supposed to be a defining moment at the biggest relay carnival in the world, that is, Calabar trying to lower the 4x100m World high school record (39.08) at the 2015 edition of the Penn Relays. The Calabar quartet, established the new record at the recent ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys & Girls championship on the final day of competition and many were wondering how fast they would run in Pennsylvania.
Calabar received a minor setback when relay starter Edward Clarke was ruled ineligible, as a result of exhausting the allotted times to compete. Clarke, competed for Jamaica College and Calabar for a collective four years.
The school has quality replacements to call upon especially from their magnificent Class 2 stockpile, such as Tyreke Wilson, Daniel Bogle and Class 1 transferee Xavier Angus. However, the biggest blow came when it was revealed that star athlete Michael O’Hara has been ruled ineligible to compete, based allegedly on endorsement signings and benefits received.
It is often argued that no one is indispensable, however, this writer cannot think of no other current high school athlete who runs the backstretch like Michael O’Hara and Calabar will greatly miss his services.
Calabar will now have to shuffle their deck and hope to come up with a royal flush. The Red Hills road school still has the firepower to break 40 seconds, however, with St. Jago High, Kingston College, St. George’s College and Jamaica College not having such off field woes, the title is now up for grabs.
Many persons still believe this event will be one of the most exciting events at the Penn Relays. It is just unfortunate that based on the rules, some of the best Jamaican high school athletes will be absent. Nevertheless, the sport of track and field has a way of unearthing new stars at critical moments.
Let us hope for something extraordinary.