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High Hopes as western Ja’s athletes prepare
to heat up Olympic Games

BY PAUL A REID Observer West Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com
Thursday, August 02, 2012

LONDON, England — For most Jamaicans the 30th Olympiad will really get underway tomorrow when the track and field competition starts at Olympic stadium in Stratford, London, and nowhere is the expectation felt more than in western Jamaica where 10 of the 47 athletes are from.

Undoubtedly, the single biggest question of the Games is the competition for the men's 100m gold between defending champion Usain Bolt who hails from Sherwood in Trelawny and World Champion Yohan Blake from Bogue Hill, St James.

Veronica Campbell Brown of Troy, Trelawny, is chasing a third straight women's 200m title and a place in track and field history, while former Mannings School triple jumper Trecia-Kay Smith and school mate 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer; Roxroy Cato from Sheffield, Westmoreland and quartermiler Dane Hyatt from Goodwill, St James, will contest individual events.

The veteran Michael Frater 'Mr Reliable' from Ulster Spring, Trelawny; Olympic and World Championships individual silver medalist Shericka Williams from St Elizabeth and Salt Spring's Schillonie Calvert will make up relays squads.

The men's 100m is however expected to be an epic battle and some are predicting it to be the fastest ever 100m race to be run August 5, providing all the top protagonists including Asafa Powell as well as the American pair of Justin Gatling and Tyson Gay all make it to the medal round.

Bolt's championships mettle, having set four of his five World Records either at the Olympics or World Championships, should give him the edge but Blake's two wins over him at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Championships will give the former St Jago High runner confidence.

Campbell Brown's preparations left something to be desired, losing her final three races including both at Trials, but her experience — this being her fourth Olympic Games — should serve her well.

Kaliese Spencer is due for a global medal after back to back fourth places in the 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Championships and is coming off a 2011 season, where she won the IAAF Diamond League title.

Smith is a former World Champion and one of few athletes in the triple jump competition who have jumped over 15.0m, even though it came eight years ago in Austria.

Hyatt and Cato are in their first ever Olympics, and while Cato formerly of Green Island High is not expected to do much given the talents in the 400m hurdles, Hyatt who attended William Knibb Memorial is a dark horse for the 400m final and a long shot to grab a medal.

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