Christoffe Bryan opened his season with a win in the men’s high jump at the Kansas State University (KSU), University of Kansas (KU), Wichita State University (WSU) Showdown in Lawrence, Kansas.Bryan, the former Wolmerian, won with a leap of 2.20m as his team finished second in the contest among the three universities.His countrywoman, Kimberly Williams, won the women’s equivalent with a 1.87m leap as she continues her gradual improvement since attending KSU two season ago.Despite his winning opening, Bryan is far from happy. A bothersome knee that has plagued him for years now continues to hamper his progress, a big concern since he plans to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.”That’s the main goal,” said a frustrated Bryan. “I was supposed to go to the World Championships last year, but I had to pull out because of the same knee issue. But I am trying to get it sorted out as soon as possible.”Bryan has been struggling with a bad knee since his days in high school. He has had it treated, but nothing seems to be able help him put the injury behind him. It has now become a nuisance.”I am having this problem for too long and it’s holding me back. I went 2.28m last year and couldn’t get back there, so I was pretty frustrated and disappointed,” he said.The knee has not allowed him to jump much in practice this off-season, and he believes it affected him on Friday.”I feel it was a pretty good performance because I haven’t jumped that much in practice, so my timing was off,” he said. “When I got to 2.25m, my knee was bothering me a little, but I pushed through.”Bryan said that he aims to break 2.30m this season, which should help him earn a spot on the national team to Rio, and as such, he plans to undergo a procedure in a couple of months that he hopes will alleviate the knee problem that has been preventing him from soaring to new heights.
The revelation that there would again be no hurdles event in this year’s Digicel Grand Prix series at the recent launch came as a big shock for many individuals close to the sport.On the schedule are the: 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 4×400 metres relays, along with the long and high jumps. The latter was added to the list this year.This snub can be seen as a slap in the face for the athletes who are involved in both the intermediate and sprint hurdles. One can understand the hurdles’ absence during last year’s introductory season of the Grand Prix, but it is indeed a big mistake that for the second year in a row this discipline is not one of those events that will be contested.The people who make up the Technical Committee are competent individuals and they do understand the strength of the country’s track and field, so why add the high jump and not one of the hurdle events? Why is it that both the 100m and 200m are being contested at the same meets? They could simply have replaced the 200m with either the 100m hurdles or the 400m hurdles.Outside of the 100 metres, hurdle events have been the country’s most successful at the international level, and athletes doing this discipline should be encouraged.At the last IAAF World Junior Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Jamaica had two medallists as Jaheel Hyde won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Tyler Mason won silver in the 110m hurdles.Last summer, it was gold for Danielle Williams in the women’s 100m hurdles with her sister Shermaine also making the final. In the men’s 110m hurdles Hansle Parchment, an Olympic bronze medallist, won the silver medal here, while Omar McLeod almost made it to the final. Also, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games is none other than our own Andrew Riley.If we are getting success in a particular discipline, we must continue to give the younger athletes in the event the support and encouragement that they need.EXCELLENT TRACK RECORDJamaica’s track record in the hurdles has been excellent over the years with several athletes winning major medals.Among the juniors it started with Gillian Russell and continued with Camille Robinson, Shermaine Williams, Natasha Ruddock, Latoya Greaves, Sherene Pinnock, Yanique Thompson, Jeneive Russell, Marvin Williams and Keiron Stewart who have all won medals at the junior level internationally.Among the seniors the likes of Michelle Freeman, Deon Hemmings, Delloreen Ennis- London, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane have all had major success.The Digicel Grand Prix series will start on Saturday February 6 with the Western Championships in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith inside the National Stadium.There is hope that good sense will prevail and it will not be too late for the organisers to have a change of heart and replace one of the sprint events with either the sprint or intermediate hurdles.- R.G.