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Track And Field
Bolt pleased with progress
Anthony Foster, Gleaner Writer
Beijing Olympic hero Usain Bolt has expressed satisfaction with his performance at Saturday's Gibson Relays, held at the National Stadium.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Bolt, in a track side interview that was heard throughout the stadium, following his first sprint race of the season.
The star of the last Olympics, after capturing the 100m gold in a world record 9.69 seconds and 19.30 for the 200m crown, led his Racers Lions Club team to victories on Saturday in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
He anchored the sprint relay team home in a meet record 38.10 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year, eclipsing the 38.62-second performance set earlier in the day by Jamaica's Asafa Powell-led MVP squad at the Sydney Classic in Australia.
Kenroy Anderson, Yohan Blake, who ran a superb second leg and Xavier Brown, outran Racers Club (38.48), the second of the Glen Mills-coached units, to beat the previous meet record of 38.70 that was set by the High Performance Training Centre in 2007. The Racers Club team included Mario Foresight, Marvin Anderson, Emmanuel Callender of Trinidad and Tobago and Antiguan Daniel Bailey.
In the mile relay, Bolt teamed up with Jermaine Gonzales, Ricardo Chambers and Ansert White to take victory in 3:04.27.
"Overall I think I did pretty well but it was a little bit tiring because I am not in the best shape," Bolt said. "But I am getting there."
Meanwhile, Manchester High's girls stole the spotlight with two Championships victories, while Jamaica College (JC), Kingston College (KC) and Calabar shared the boys' titles in the exciting high school competition.
Calabar, whose Class One sprint team clocked 39.95 seconds, were the only record breakers in the group. Their team of Oshane Bailey, World Youth 200m champion Ramone McKenzie, Warren Weir and Ricardo Powell, beat the previous Gibson Relays mark of 40.07, which was set by St Jago in 2007.
In the other divisions, St Jago took Class Two (42.03); Calabar Class Three (43.92) and KC won Class Four (45.80).
In the girls' section, Edwin Allen with Gayon Evans and Nikita Tracey, both members of Jamaica's team to the World Junior Championships in Poland last summer, won the Class One girls event in 45.39. Holmwood Technical (45.93) finished second.
Holmwood dominated the lower divisions, winning classes Two, Three and Four. In Class Two, they won in 45.60 ahead of Vere (46.13),while their respective Class Three and Class Four wins came in 46.24 ahead of Manchester (46.57) and 47.49, beating the 48.03 they set in the preliminary round.
Manchester High's victories in the 4x400m and 4x800m were not only sweet for the girls from Mandeville, but the entire Jamaica as they beat two highly-touted Team Bickle USA teams.
In the 4x800, Team Bickle USA, an All-High school selection, led by approximately 15 metres at the penultimate changeover but Manchester High, with Natoya Goule, a national junior representative, ran an impressive anchor leg to take her team home in 8:49.01, nearly 10 metres ahead of Holmwood (8:51.91), while the US team placed third.
Goule, whose team also included Neisha Morgan, Kimberly Brown and Sharleen Brown, was ecstatic.
"All that was on my mind was to take my team home," said Goule, who got the baton in third position. "We had set our minds to win but we were a bit nervous because of the other teams," she added while making special mention of their coach, Jerry Holness, saying he motivated them.
The 4x400m relay was equally exciting as Team Bickle USA again took the challenge to the Jamaicans. Like the 4x800, however, they failed on the final leg and Goule was their nemesis.
She again made up the stagger and surged away at the finish, leading her team to victory in 3:38.38, ahead of Edwin Allen, who put up a serious final-leg challenge, but ended second in 3:39.55. The Manchester team also included Shana-Gaye Tracey, Denesha Morris and Sandrae Farquharson.
This wins, according to Holness, will help them financially.
"Our aim was to go there and win the 4x800m because of financial reasons," he said. "We are going through a financial burden now and this will help us towards our Penn Relays expenses," he added.
In the boys' 4x400m, which was a little less competitive, KC with Andre Peart, Rolando Berch, Akino Ming and Kemardo Tyrell closed the show in 3:09.38, way ahead of St. Jago (3:13.23).
Earlier JC, led by an impressive third leg from Waquar DaCosta, won the 4x800m in 7:41.91, some distance in front of Holmwood, which clocked 7:43.01.
In the 4x200m, Vere girls won the open event in a record 1:34.73, while Calabar High (1:24.76) took boys' Class One equivalent.
In Class Two, Wolmer's raced to a record 1:28.11 win. St George's College's Class Three boys also posted a record, winning in 1:31.52. KC (1:39.21) won Class Four.