Due to work commitments I did not make it to champs this year. Fortunately, it was shown live on the Sportsmax television channel and so I was able to watch the exciting events of the final day in the comfort of my living room. While watching on the television I called two of my friends who were in the Grand Stand at the National Stadium that night to get the latest updates. Actually the calls were just for them to know that I was there in spirit; the decibel level in the stadium was such that mobile phones in the National Stadium were pretty much useless that Saturday afternoon.
We all know by now that JC won Champs 2011 with an amazing 280 points, followed by KC 11 points behind with an equally amazing 269 points and Calabar with 236. Despite those overall scores by the top three it was not the closest Champs though. (The closest to date was Champs 2009 when KC won by half a point from Calabar). Of course, I am talking about the boys here, among the girls’ schools only four points separated the top two.
For those of us in the diaspora, going into the final day of Champs 2011, the Jamaican media gave the distinct impression that KC would win their 33rd Championships with relative ease. This was based on the assumption that neither JC nor Calabar would be able to surpass KC going into the final day. I had my doubts though because a week or so before Champs I had called two of my close friends in Jamaica who are both avid (as a veterinarian I almost wrote ‘rabid’ instead of ‘avid’!) track and field fans and KC supporters to ask them what was the expected outcome of Champs this year. One was male the other female. The male told me that it would be close but that KC would prevail - of that he had no doubt; the female told me that it would be close but that based on what she saw all season she thought that JC would prevail! She was right, he was wrong and he owes me drinks at Champs 2012.
As usual many of my friends from Toronto, New York, Miami and other cities in North America went down to Champs 2011. I asked a couple of them what were, in their views, the most impressive performances at Champs. They both said that the stellar run of Chrisann Gordon of Holmwood who sprinted to victory in the Class 2 400 meters was worth going miles to see. The lass ran the 400 meters in a world leading 51.62 seconds! I am sorry I missed it. They also felt that Travis Smikle of Calabar in the Class one discus was also very impressive as he threw the discus 66.88 meters to shatter the old record. Among the races that I saw from my living room I was quite impressed with KC’s Stefan Fennel in the Class one 110 meters finals. Aficionados will recall that last year as defending champion in the Class two hurdles he fell at the first hurdle and crashed out of the race. Fennel’s outstanding performance this year proved that he is a true Fortis. Next year we will be looking for him to approach or break the record for the event (13.53 seconds) which is held by another Fortis Kieron Stewart now at University of Texas.
Of course, the million dollar question among KC fans is: why did KC lose Champs this year? Theories abound. I have heard at least five so far. Well, maybe they were not theories but simply, reasons. For my part KC did not lose Champs – JC won it. Most of us will agree they were a little bit better than KC this year. I trust that next year the table will be reversed because I plan to be there in the stands.
Oh, lest I forget, congrats to the Holmwood girls for eking out a 4 point win over Edwin Allen High in wining their 9th consecutive Championship and their 9th overall! (My nephew goes to Holmwood but it appears that as far as sports go the boys only play cricket and football while the girls do track and field.)