By Robert Taylor, Special to Trackalerts.Com
The two days of Carifta trials have given me answers but questions still remain.
We can all conclude that Christopher Taylor is a phenomenon of the highest quality and losing the 400m class 2 at the Jamaica high school championships would be a shock not many would have experienced before. His 45.69 was great; but the way he ran it is even more remarkable. To see a 15-year-old who actually looks like a 15-year-old but running times associated with 18 to 20 years old is astounding, stunning, or whatever adjectives one chooses to use.
This is even more astonishing when one looks on the Jamaican male senior 400m landscape and sees that it is paved with 45-second runners. The other standout in my mind is Akeem Bloomfield who ran 45.41 over the 400m. Bloomfield might get overshadowed to some extent by Taylor because of age difference and the way each ran their race. Nevertheless, Bloomfield has me salivating over his tremendous talent with ranges from 100m to 400m. What will he specialize in at the next level is anybody’s guess. There is a before Bolt era and after Bolt era that caused attitudes towards tall sprinters to change. Before Bolt, Bloomfield’s height of 6ft. 3 inches would most certainly put him in the 200m & 400m category. After Bolt, 100m & 200m are now strong possibilities. His history of injuries in some ways parallels that of Bolt. With a mission to strengthen his core etc., it is now only a matter of time before he and his coach have to decide where his future lies.
Funny thing is, there is the 400m question being asked of Jamaican male athletes for the past few years and now the question has been answered with seemingly a well-stocked quality at the high school level. I am writing about Bloomfield and Taylor, yet there are other potential 45 seconds high school athletes. A few of the names are: Nathon Allen, Martin Manley, Twayne Crooks and Devaughn Baker and others we have not seen as yet. Some are injured and this is sad but the finals at high the school championship should make it very interesting.
On the female side, Saqukine Cameron stands out as the most dominating. Her time of 23.18 over the 200m is impressive. I cannot see her losing to the 100m sprinters; in the 200m finals at Champs, if everyone turned up healthy and at their peak, I still expect her to do well. Her ability to win the 400m coupled with the speed she displayed on the 4x100m backstretch at the 2015 Gibson relay tells me she is as close to unbeatable as Taylor is. Shaniel English was also impressive in the under-18 100m and 200m. She seems to be a cut above the rest. It is a pity the transfer rule makes her ineligible for Champs 2015. This on the other hand makes the class 2 100m and 200m up in air. The competition in the class 3 should also be as fierce.
Though Carifta trials had some great performances, it did not give us any indication of what the overall high school competition placement is going to look like. An athlete like Baker did not make the 400m final; however, I am expecting him to represent himself well at Champs. Cameron who dominated the under-20 200m should factor in the 400m. This makes the race even more exciting but I see her winning both the 200m & 400m.
Who will win the Boys and girls athletic championship is still undecided. There are teams with chances to win but no clear favourite. Many have Calabar to win and the probability is significant, but makes no mistake, I doubt very much that it will play out like last year. Teams like Kingston College and Jamaica College will be vying for victory too, with St. Jago and St Elizabeth technical to lesser extents will be amassing points and making Calabar drive to victory extremely challenging. The female side has the same dilemma in choosing the winner. St. Jago seems to have a powerful team, but so too do the defending champions, Edwin Allen and rising power, Hydel. Many time champions Holmwood Technical and Vere Technical should have good showings which will make it difficult for the balanced teams to have things easy.
Carifta trials showed a lot and gave strong hope for the future but we will have to wait for Champs to see the best over all the interesting events. Some athletes choose to avoid certain races they will be competing in at Champs, while others for whatever the reason did not participate. Champs, more than Carifta trials, will answer all the questions about who will win what event and which team will win Champs. The unknown will always create intrigue and for some, excitement. The great thing about it all is that we are seeing the resurgent of the 400m. This is what makes life very interesting, nothing remains the same forever.
**The views expressed in this article are those of the author (Robert Taylor) and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, trackalerts.com.