Champs Then & Now: Calabar’s Young Lions

Champs 2015 is now in full swing. For this Champs week, we’ll be doing a ‘Then & Now’ feature on the blog, where we look at a star from the past and a current star-on-the-rise from the same school. We head to Calabar for today’s feature.

Then – Daniel England

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He may have been short in stature, but he accomplished big things for Calabar from 1987 to 1990. His 1986 season had been plagued by injury, but he roared back the next year to set a 200m class 2 record – 21.72 seconds – in the semis. He won the final, of course, and also claimed the 400m gold in 48.81 seconds. He was even better in 1988 when he moved up to class 1. He shaved his 400m time down to 46.62 seconds and again broke the 200m record, clocking 21.04 seconds. That same year, he made the 400m final at the World Junior Championships.

When he won his third class 1 400m title, he equalled the accomplishment of KC’s Rupert Hoilett, who had done so from 1963-65, setting a new record each time.

England was a crowd favourite, as fans – and not just Calabar supporters – would chant his name. He took to wearing a Union Jack hat in a subtle pun on his surname.

After a stellar Champs career, he went on to Central Arizona Junior College. England decided to hang up his spikes after finishing his tertiary career.

Now – Michael O’Hara

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The pictures of a weeping Calabar star Michael O’Hara being comforted by former Calabar man, Olympic and World Championships 200m medallist Warren Weir, was one of the most memorable coming out of last year’s ISSA Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

O’Hara, 18, the champion boy for 2011, 2012 and 2013, was overcome with disappointment after being disqualified from the semi-final of the 100m. A third-place finish in the 200m compounded a rather under-par campaign for the multi-talented sprinter. He is eager to get back on track and correct last year’s mistakes and once again lead Calabar to the Mortimer Geddes Trophy.

In 2012, his first class 2 season, he scored 24 points for Calabar, winning the 110m hurdles, 100m and 200m in 13.9, 10.7 and 21.36 seconds, respectively. A year later, O’Hara won his first global title, claiming the 200m gold at the World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine in 20.63 seconds. He finished third at last year’s World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, clocking a personal best 20.31 seconds.

Some information from Champs 100: A Century of Jamaican High School Athletics 1910-2010 by Hubert Lawrence