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Jamaica brace for USA team Bickle's challenge

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Anthony Foster, Star Writer

Unlike previous years when the sprint relays generated the most interest, tomorrow's Gibson Relays could provide a new twist as the girls 4x800m could be what most Jamaicans have their eyes on.

There are two reasons for this interest, the first is Team Bickle USA, an All-Star high school team, which will be here to challenge the Jamaicans. To stroke the flames many would have been angered by the comments made by the group's coach ahead of the meet.

"We will not be beaten in the 4x800 metres this time and we are going to win this event very easily," said Team Bickle USA's coach Sean Phillips, a former Vere Technical and G.C. Foster College student.

Holmwood and defending champions Manchester, two of the island's big guns have basically ruled themselves out of winning, which leaves Edwin Allen's girls to defend national pride, and according to their coach, Michael Dyke the team "are ready and waiting."

highly motivated

Dyke said his girls "are highly motivated, especially since the comments made by the team coach from aboard ... that has really inspired them to go out and do well."

Dyke is aware of the strength of the USA Team and says he know they are coming to win, but promised not to go down without a fight.

"The girls have been performing very well all season, so I don't have any reason to think that we cannot continue our winning ways."

So now, it's up to the Tracey sisters, Nikita and Ristananna, along with Mackola Joseph, Carla Thompson, Desreen Montague and Sanikee Gardener and Sharlene Nickle, which ever four take the track, to prevent the Francis sisters, Claudia and Phyllis, Afia Charles, Whitney Fountain and Daynia Walsh from leaving with bragging rights.

The battle will also be on in the girls' 4x400m, but unlike Edwin Allen, none of the other coaches from Manchester, Vere, Holmwood and even Team Bickle USA want to stake a claim. One thing is for sure, this event will also be hot, like the expected 4x100m for Class One girls with Holmwood, Edwin Allen, Herbert Morrison and Manchester.

On the boys' side, Holmwood, Munro, St Elizabeth Technical and Vere look set to battle in the 4x400m.

In the 4x800m, Holmwood and Kingston College are the top teams. STETHS, Manchester, St George's, Wolmer's and Munro are expected to battle in the classes One and Two 4x100m relays while KC look the favourite in Class Three.

The 4x200m, all classes, should feature the same teams.

Meanwhile, teams from Florida (Speeders Track Club); Martinique, Bahamas, Ontario (Canada), who have asked for their Under-14 teams to run in the All-Age section, are other teams down to take part.

Action starts at 9:30 a.m. with the 4x400m relay for high school boys.

USA's Team Bickle, pose for the camera, after placing third in the high school girls 4x800m relay during the Gibson Relays at the National Stadium last year. - Anthony Minott

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