Calabar already working for Champs.
By Dania Bogle
Defending Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) boys champions Calabar High School are already in prep mode to defend the title they have won for the last two years. Team coach Michael Clarke told MilesplitJa.com that while the team won in 2012 and 2013, the work began a long time ago.
"Our projection for any championship starts at least three to four years before. Next year (2014) we started planning from (2010) so adding and subtracting and based on what we are doing now, the personnel that we have, we should do well," Clarke told us at a function held in honour of its star performer Javon Francis at the school's Red Hills Road, St. Andrew base recently.
Francis had quite a year, anchoring the school to second in the 4x400m at the annual Boys & Girls Athletic Championships in March and victory at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia in April. He won the hearts of Jamaicans all over after battling older more experienced runners to take Jamaica from fifth into second place and a silver medal in the men's 4x400m at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia in August. Clarke said that Francis cannot now afford to rest on his laurels. The coach took a strategic approach this year skipping the national junior championships and having Francis run at the senior trials instead.
The move paid off as Francis clocked a personal best and world junior leading 45.24 seconds to finish second and booked his ticket to Moscow.
"One thing for sure is that he can't be complacent," Clarke said. "I won't allow him to get complacent because there are other talents coming cup that we're going to have to be fully aware of and prepared for."
Clarke was head coach of Jamaica's team in Russia and described his feeling seeing Francis go around the athletes on the curve in Moscow.
"Fantastic. That was always the plan from the beginning of the season and I told him of the plan and he bought into it and the rest is history."
Calabar finished ahead of Jamaica College and Kingston College at the boys championships in March. The school has retained some of its star athletes for next season including champion boy Michael O'Hara who won titles in the class two boys 100m, 200m, and 110m hurdles and class two 800m and 1500m winner Jorel Belafonte who hails from the Cayman Islands. Calabar earned 299 points at the last championships to JC's 258.5 and KC's 247.5.