Veronica Campbell, St. Jago Impressive At Reebok Grand Prix In NYC

Jamaican Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell proved her top billing at the Reebok Grand Prix 2007, posting an impressive 10.93 seconds to win the women’s 100-meter dash before a sold out crowd at Icahn Stadium, Randall Island, New York. After a slow start, Campbell powered her way over the last 10 meters to outclass USA sprinters Torri Edwards (10.96) and Allyson Felix (11.01) who placed second and third respectively.

In one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the meet, boys High School relay team St. Jago – with sprint phenom Yohan Blake anchoring the 4X400 meter Relay HS – brought the curtain down on a spectacular meet, beating arch nemesis Calabar High School (3:14:06) and Lancaster from Texas (3:14:09). The Jamaican high school teams were invited to the meet based on impressive performances at the Boys & Girls

Athletics championship and the Penn Relay Carnival earlier this year and they did not disappoint the throngs of flag waving Jamaicans who came to see them run. After an extraordinary first leg by St Jago’s lead off athlete Ryker Hilton and a great final leg by Blake, St Jago easily won the race in 3:12:35 sec. Herbert Morrison did themselves proud, capturing the Boys 1600 Sprint Medley HS Boys in 3:26:04 ahead of Iona Prep TC (3:28:55) and Calabar (3:29:30) who did well to finish third after their 800 meters anchor fell and lost his lead.

Other outstanding Jamaican athletes included World Junior record holder Usain Bolt (19.89 sec) who narrowly lost to US champion Wallace Spearmon (19.82 sec) in the men’s 200 meters race. Bolt came off the turn leading but came up short in the final 10 meters. Sheri-Ann Brooks continued her stellar form, placing third (22.98) in the 200 meters women’s event behind USA sprinters Rachelle Smith (22.31) and Lashaunte A Moore (22.74) while Novene Williams from Jamaica posted 50.97 to place second in the Women’s 400 meters race.

Louie Grant, vice president of Irie Jam Radio – the official Caribbean Media sponsor of the event – said, “I must thank our senior and junior athletes for delivering great performances here today and the diehard Jamaican fans who turned out in droves to support their athletes. This is the very first time that Jamaican high school teams have been invited to participate at a Grand Prix event here in the USA. This goes to show the tremendous impact our junior athletes are making on the international stage and speak volumes about the quality of the athletics program that currently exist in Jamaica.”

Moments after the athletics event had concluded, singer Alibra, Nodia Rose and the New Kingston Band had fans in a musical trance at the post concert held outside the main sporting complex. Alibra crooned current hits “What Is A Man” and “Clearly” while the New Kingston Band charmed fans with a medley of reggae hits songs.