They’re off and running for Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships 2016. Calabar High will retain the Boys’ Champs title by a 50-60 point margin, while Edwin Allen High will also repeat as Girls Champs winners by an 80-90 point margin. The more difficult call to make will be who will win the stellar Class One boys’ 100-metre event? All things considered, the race should be fast and the winner will be one of Jhevaughn Matherson of Kingston College (KC), Nigel Ellis of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and the St Jago High’s rocket man, Raheem Chambers. This race is Ellis to win. His body of work, but more specifically his 10.20 clocking while running all alone at Western Championships, has quite rightly earned him the favourite’s tag. His blistering top-end speed and aggression over the final 40 metres should render Ellis unbeatable at this level, providing he executes well. Chambers will have to beat them with his strength out of the blocks and hold his form and momentum through to the tape. Due to the minuscule margin for error in this quality field, the St Jago man will have to run a perfect race to win. But Chambers did show signs of returning to his 10.27 best, with a comfortable 10.32 clocking at the recent Carifta Trials. Matherson will be the X-factor in this race. He reminded all and sundry how special an athlete he is with that 10.25 run while easing up and gazing all around the stadium, also at the Carifta Trials. Outside of the sheer class and quality of the Class Three 100m record holder, the dynamics of Matherson wearing the purple of KC cannot be overstated. When it comes to Champs, that energy generated by the constant bellowing of purple support coming from the stands, has discombobulated many opposing athletes over many years. The big question is this: How will Nigel Ellis cope with the ‘purple pressure’ come that final on Friday evening? There is also the burden of expectation on Ellis, not just of winning his first major race at Champs, but also to become the first STETHS athlete to win the prestigious Class One 100-metre event. If Ellis passes those mental tests he will win. He is naturally fastest in the field and with that stunning anchor leg in the mile relay at the Gibson/McCook Relays, he showed that he is not just fast, but also supremely strong. Having listened to him in a couple of interviews, I get the impression that he is quite level-headed, with a near nonchalant dynamic to his easy going, relaxed personality, qualities he will need to cope with those crucial race pressure moments. As is the tradition of this particular event, it will be worth going miles to see. The hope is for a legal headwind of about 1.6 to 1.8 metres per second, which would serve up the necessary conditions for an assault on the 10.12 Champs record by the Anguillan citizen Zharnel Hughes, who competed at Champs for KC. It is quite befitting our legacy in world sprinting that a Jamaican schoolboy retains that record and that honour. All things remaining equal, I predict Ellis to win from Matherson from, Chambers, with the hope being that mother nature will oblige with the necessary conditions for a schoolboy sprinter to dip under 10.10 for the first time in our glorious Champs history.
Arsenal’s Premier League opener against champions Manchester City on Sunday will provide an early look at how Emery is faring in cleaning up the mess left by Wenger at the Emirates Stadium.Arsenal had been stuck in a downward spiral for years and with Wenger unable to reverse the decline, owner Stan Kroenke finally dispensed with the most successful manager in his club’s history despite the Frenchman’s desire to stay.Finishing 37 points behind City was a fitting ending for the dispiriting final season of the Wenger era — a torrid campaign layed out to a soundtrack of angry protests against the manager from frustrated fans.Wenger’s remarkable feats in the first half of his reign will stand the test of time, but few Arsenal supporters lamented his departure after 14 years without a league title.Arsenal have fallen so far behind their top-four rivals that, at present, it is unthinkable Emery could ever match his predecessor’s haul of three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.Yet despite Arsenal’s reduced status, Emery, who parted ways with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, jumped at the chance to follow in Wenger’s footsteps in north London.The 46-year-old Spaniard arrives with an intriguing pedigree, having enjoyed success with PSG, only to pay the price for failing to fulfil the club’s desire to win the Champions League.A cynic might suggest Emery’s feat of winning the Europa League three years in a row with Sevilla was the most relevent achievement on his CV prior to his appointment at Arsenal — who will compete in Europe’s second tier competition for a second successive season.– Energy and steel –Returning to the Champions League via a top four finish in the Premier League will be Emery’s main target, yet knocking one of City, Manchester United, Liverpool or Tottenham from those positions, and also overtaking Chelsea, is a tough proposition.Regarded as a football savant cut from the same cloth as the obsessive Wenger, Emery has impressed Arsenal’s players with his detailed video analysis, spending up to 12 hours ahead of each game working on footage for his squad.Emery has also pored over film of Arsenal’s woes last season and his pre-season transfer dealings suggest he has already identified the problems that Wenger struggled to resolve.Swiss veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner and Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos were signed from Juventus and Borussia Dortmund respectively to bolster a creaky defence.Bernd Leno joined from Bayer Leverkusen to offer an alternative to ageing goalkeeper Petr Cech, while Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have been bought to add energy and steel in midfield.But without Champions League action, Arsenal are no longer a big draw for Europe’s top stars.Instead, Emery must focus on getting the best out of Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who made a fine start with Arsenal following his January move from Dortmund, while also finding a way to dovetail the creative talents of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.It might be a while before the Emery revolution bears fruit, but his attention to detail and desire for a high-tempo pressing game should make Arsenal a tougher unit than Wenger’s skilful but spineless group.“In the past, Arsenal have won games on great football, individual brilliance and having great attacking players,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said.“What we’ll see Arsenal do more this season is win games tactically. You will look at games and say ‘That’s the manager, he has set up a certain way’.“He makes it difficult for teams to play against them.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Arsenal manager Unai Emery launches the post-Wenger era on Sunday © AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRANDLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 11 – Unai Emery faces a daunting task to lift Arsenal out of the doldrums as the Gunners head into a new Premier League season without Arsene Wenger as their manager for the first time in 22 years.Emery was hired to replace Wenger following the Frenchman’s exit at the end of a dismal campaign which saw Arsenal labour to a sixth place finish in the Premier League.