Big guns to be unleashed for Digicel Grand Prix final

By March 16, 2019

The Digicel Grand Prix makes its final stop at the GC Foster Classic in Spanish Town, Jamaica on Saturday but this time, the big guns are out, even as the ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletic Championships fast approaches. 

In times past, meets like the GC Foster Classic were used by schools as just a warm-up for ‘Champs’, but recently, with the advent of the Digicel Grand Prix, which offers big money to schools’ athletic programmes for various achievements like breaking a record, or winning the overall event, big performances have come calling.

Today, one of the biggest clashes of the Grand Prix promises to be between Calabar’s Michael Stephens and Jamaica College’s Michali Everett. Everett, who has gone as fast as 10.37 seconds over 100 metres, beat Stephens at the Digicel Grand Prix qualifier, which was part of last week’s Corporate Area Development Meet inside the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Stephens, who had just been returning to race fitness after an injury, was second in 10.84 seconds, while Everett was dominant, leading from start to finish to win in 10.66, but gained a little revenge afterward, when he anchored Calabar to a win in the Class One 4x100-metre relay.

After the race, Stephens, in explaining to SportsMax.tv’s Shawana Ebanks why he kept looking over at the lane Everett was in, said ‘Big man a big man, bwoy a bwoy,’ a warning shot that signaled what should be a cracker of a final on Saturday.

Earlier, Stephens had chalked up his loss to Everett in the final, as down to race rustiness, but that he just needed a couple of starts to get it right when it counted.

There will be a number of other athletes whose performances in the Grand Prix final will be under scrutiny.

For instance, Calabar’s Christopher Taylor had said from the Corporate Area Development Meet that while he was struggling with some discomfort this season, he was aiming to break his 45.84 record set in 2018.

Everybody knows Taylor has the quality to go faster than 45.84, but is arguably, the greatest schoolboy athlete of all time, in the type of shape to break records.

On the girls side of things, Ackera Nugent, is beginning to look like a prodigy over the 100 hurdles after breaking the world record in the event in her first race this season. That fact, has created much interest in seeing just how fast she will go, now that she is at the business end of the high school season.

Nugent is down for the 400-metre hurdles, but that doesn’t matter, as the Excelsior High School athlete promises excitement every time she touches the track.

Another athlete everyone is anxious to see will be Edwin Allen High School’s Kevona Davis. Davis has been run sparingly this season as her coach, Michael Dyke, wants her to stay healthy after a couple of injury-plagued seasons.

Davis and overseas-based Briana Williams are the fastest teenagers in the country and much of the hopes for the future lie in the two.

The Edwin Allen star is down to compete in the 200 metres.

There is also much anticipation about how close this year’s ‘Champs’ will be and Kingston College, who look set to win the Grand Prix, based on the number of finals entries they have this year, may be making a statement of intent that will be interesting to see.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Related items

  • Coe 'killing' athletics with Diamond League changes, warns Blake Coe 'killing' athletics with Diamond League changes, warns Blake

    Yohan Blake believes IAAF president Sebastian Coe is "killing" athletics by cutting back on Diamond League disciplines.

    Sweeping changes announced in November saw the 200 metres, 3,000m steeplechase, discus and triple jump removed from the schedule for the upcoming season in a bid to accommodate a 90-minute broadcast window.

    Former 100m world champion and 200m Olympic silver medallist Blake thinks the decision will do more harm than good to the sport.

    "It has changed a lot, I am not going to lie. The times we are running have slowed down, track and field is dying a little," said Blake.

    "If [Coe] can take away the 200 and triple jump, I don't know if he is trying to build or trying to kill athletics.

    "But that's a stupid move he is making. He must enhance the sport, but he is killing it. It is just madness.

    "This is people's careers and where they make money… You cannot do that. Everybody is hating him. We have to take a stand."

  • Mo Farah to run 10,000m at 2020 Olympics Mo Farah to run 10,000m at 2020 Olympics

    Mo Farah has performed a U-turn and elected to defend his 10,000m title at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

    Two years ago, Farah walked away from track events to concentrate on marathons and he finished eighth across 26.2 miles in Chicago last month having won the event in 2018.

    However, the 36-year-old has decided to return to shorter distances and will aim to add to his Olympic medal collection at the next Games.

    Farah, who will still need to qualify for the event in Tokyo, won gold over 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

    "It's been really exciting to compete at the marathon for the last couple of years," Farah said in a message posted on his YouTube Channel.

    "To win the Chicago Marathon, as a major marathon, that was nice. To finish third in the London Marathon, was okay, it was good.

    "It's been a good learning curve for me - doing the marathon, to run 2:05 - British record, European record. The training for it was totally different to the track.

    "Next year I've decided, Tokyo 2020, I'm going to be back on the track. I'm really excited to be competing back on the track and giving it a go in the 10,000 metres.

    "Hopefully I haven't lost my speed. I'll train hard for it and see what I can do."

  • Nine more student-athletes get scholarships from Pocket Rocket Foundation Nine more student-athletes get scholarships from Pocket Rocket Foundation

    Nine high school student-athletes became first-time scholarship recipients from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation on Wednesday.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.