800m to thrill at Boyce/Jefford with USVI’s Smith inclusion


The International Men’s 800m at this weekend’s Kares Engineering Inc. Boyce and Jefford Track and Field Classic will arguably be the best race of the championship with the addition of the USVI athlete Malique Smith.

Smith has a personal best time of 1:51.90s, which is better than all Guyanese this year; a time he ran at the Aliann Pompey Invitational to win the 800m title. Smith will face Olympian out of Uganda, Julius Mutenkanga, to set up a massive clash at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground in Linden.

In addition to the Mutenkanga versus Smith dynamic, defending champ, United States-based Kevin Bayley and Trinidad and Tobago’s Ashton Gill are set to return to the classic in what promises to be one of the highlights of the eighth edition of the track and field meet.

Mutenkanga has a personal best time of 1:46.30s from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in 2011 in Daegu. 

The loaded 800m final, scheduled for Sunday, also features Samuel Lynch, Quincy Morian and Afernee Headecker among others carrying the local challenge. The race is also likely to include Desmond Amsterdam and Daniel Melville.

Smith is a member of the St. Croix Track Club and an honour student/athlete of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB). He earned all-conference honours on the track and in cross-country at UAPB.

Smith has been consistent and versatile throughout his seasons during his sophomore year in the 800m – a blend between that of his mother Mireille, the All-American and 1992 NCAA 800m Indoor champion at Eastern Michigan University, and his father, who was primarily a 400m sprinter, a 1992 Barcelona Olympian and a member of the 1991 V.I. Pan Am Games 4 x 100m relay team in Havana, Cuba.

What is certain from the candidates in the Boyce/Jefford International 800m Men’s is that the 2011 record of 1:55.90s is definitely under threat. Smith arrives in Guyana at 21:30h on Friday, while all the other athletes arrived on Thursday.

The Boyce and Jefford Track and Field Classic VIII is sponsored by Kares Engineering Inc., Ansa McAl Trading under it Lucozade and Stag Beer brands, National Sports Commission, Guyana Revenue Authority, Red Wing Shoes at VSH United, R&D Engineering, Mohamed’s Enterprise, K&B Mining, YK Investments Pawn Shop and Antarctic Maintenance and Repairs.

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