Saturday, March 08, 2014
Who will get the 100m gold in London?PAUL REID
Very few if anyone could have predicted last weekend's splendid performances by sprinter Yohan Blake who shocked the sporting world by beating global sprint superstar Usain Bolt not just once, but twice, winning the sprint double at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships at the National Stadium.
Such was Bolt's dominance over the past four years that it was widely believed that even at a less then 100 per cent fitness level, the lanky athlete would be hard to beat.
Along came Blake and shot that theory to pieces, as he not only bested Bolt over the 100m but over his more favoured 200m as well, to throw the predictions for London 2012 into disarray.
While Bolt looked out of sorts with poor starts in the 100m and struggled badly over the final 20 metres in the 200m, Blake looked supremely fit and ready to take over as the world sprint king.
The former St Jago High runner sent shock waves around the track and field world with his 9.75 seconds personal best and World leading time in the 100m on Friday and followed that up two days later with another World Leading performance --19.80 seconds in the 200m.
Both the winning times and the manner in which he executed them has in equal parts delighted the Jamaican fans and is sure to cause some concern in other camps, namely those of his top rivals, the Americans.
Only a week previously we heard new American champion Justin Gatlin calling out Bolt. But now, instead of one runner to focus on, the World Indoor champion who has fought his way back form a four-year drug suspension to being a medal contender, he now has to keep an eye out for a second Jamaican sprinter, as well.
Last weekend's Trials show that there is an abundance of talent and that there is growing prospects us to sweep all three medals in the men's 100m, come August 5 in London.
While Blake has stolen the spotlight, it would be foolhardy to write off Bolt, or to ignore Asafa Powell who will be participating in his third Olympics.
Bolt losses in Kingston could not have come at a better time or to a more worthy person than Blake, his team mate and heir apparent. He however said it best when he told the throng of journalists Sunday night not to worry about him.
Bolt reminded us what drives him to become the best ever and who was his coach--one of, if not the best sprint coach ever, Glen Mills.
Three weeks the experts all say, is enough time for him to get back to where he is used to being, at the top of the pile.
As for Asafa, his 9.92 seconds run in the semi-finals when he toyed with Blake, and his courage in the finals when he battled a chronic groin injury to take third place says volumes. This it seems, is not the same Asafa of last year-- at least we hope so.
London will be glorious this summer, and while Team Leader Donald Quarrie and coach Maurice Wilson warned us on Monday not to start counting medals, as fans it is difficult not to think our athletes can surpass the 11 medals won four years ago in Beijing, China.
The depth of the performances last weekend and in traditional areas as well, tells of the growth of the sport and one can't help but start to drool with what is to come.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce exploded on the weekend for a new National Record 10.70 seconds in the 100m and 22.10 seconds in the 200m, and while she says she has not idea if her coach, Stephen Francis will run her in both in London, she must now be the favourite for the 100m gold.
With just over three weeks to go before the Opening Ceremony in London, your guess is as good as mine as to where the medals will end up. But I am willing to bet that we will have a lot to celebrate in this our 50th year of Independence.
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