Western Ja athletes ready to make their mark at IAAF champs
RARING TO GO!
MOSCOW, Russia — FORMER Anchovy High sprinter Schillonie Calvert will be one of the first Jamaicans in action tomorrow night (Saturday Moscow time) as Jamaica kicks off its participation in the 14th IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital when she takes part in the first round of the women’s 100m on the opening day of competition.
Calvert, who won a silver medal at last year’s London Olympic Games as part of the women’s 4x100m relay team, is one of three athletes with western Jamaica roots on the 44-member Jamaica team, including men’s 200m defending champion and sprint double favourite Usain Bolt and former Mannings School runner Stephanie McPherson, who will contest the 400m and 4x400m relay.
The Racers Track Club runner was third in the women’s 100m finals in 11.07 seconds at the JAAA National Senior Trials in June behind Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson.
Simpson’s subsequent positive test for a banned stimulant and her automatic suspension from competition means the former IAAF World Youth Championships 100m bronze medallist will be promoted to the second place and will join Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Sherri-Ann Brooks, who was fourth at Trials, as the Jamaicans in the event here in Moscow.
Bolt will also be in action on the opening day when he runs in the second round of the men’s 100m as he seeks to retain the title he won in Berlin, Germany in 2009, but watched from the sidelines as Yohan Blake became the youngest man to win the event at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea two years ago.
In one of the most dramatic moments in sports in the last 10 years, Bolt, the overwhelming favourite, false-started in the finals and was disqualified. In recent interviews the former William Knibb Memorial student said he was not worried that he would false-start again.
“My coach keeps reminding me that I'm not a good starter so don't worry about the start, go when the gun says go, that is the plan,” Bolt told reporters following his win in the 100m at the London Diamond League meeting recently, as he wrapped up his competitive preparation for the World Championships.
“I figured out what I did wrong from my mistake. I went to the Olympics and I did well so it's behind me now, all I have to do is go there and compete.”
The first round of the men’s 100m will be held during the second session of the first day, with the semi-finals and finals set for the second day and he will be joined by Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade and Nesta Carter, who was a finalist in Daegu two years ago.
With the suspension of American Tyson Gay who was expected to be Bolt’s main rival for the 100m and the absence of Blake due to injuries, it is expected that Bolt, who had won three gold and a silver medal at the World Championships, will add to his already glittering collection of medals with another gold.
He will also participate in the 200m that is set to start nearly a week later.
McPherson, who led the women’s 400m rankings for the early part of the season and who was second to Novlene Williams Mills at the JAAA Trials, will compete for the national team for the first time at any level and will contest the first round also on the opening day, lining up in the heats in the afternoon session.
The athlete, who has also run the 200m successfully as well as trying her hands at the 400m hurdles before returning to the 400m this season, has a personal best 49.92 seconds, set at the Monaco Diamond League meeting, and is ranked at number four in the world.
Botswana’s defending champion and favourite Amantle Montsho has four of the top six times in the world so far, leading with 49.33 seconds, while two Russians Antonina Krivoshapka and Kseniya Ryzhova are second and third respectively.
Williams-Mills and Patricia Hall will also run the women’s 400m.