Sport

Has Asafa dropped the baton?

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Monday, July 23, 2012    

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Speculations are that the same Jamaican foursome that ran a World Record 37.04 seconds to win the men's 4x100m relays at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year could line up on August 12 in the final should the Jamaican team qualify.

Sources close to the Jamaican team told the Jamaiaca Observer yesterday, that given Asafa Powell's absence from the pre-Olympic training camp at the Monrow track on the University of Birmingham and the limited time available for relay practice in the Olympic Village, the former World Record holder may be left out.

With both Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake set to contest the sprint double and will have a heavy competition schedule in the Olympics, there will not be sufficient time for all the men to go through the paces, it is said.

Team officials here have, however, shot down the speculations and said there was still enough time to get more relay practice done before the start of the Games on July 27 in London.

Donald Quarrie, the Technical Leader, told reporters at a meeting yesterday there would be time to work on baton changes and said the relays would "come down to execution" when the time comes.

The managers were expecting Powell to arrive in Birmingham today with the team expected to leave for London come Thursday with track and field set to start on August 3.

Quarrie did not seem too worried by what he saw of the USA teams that competed at the Heculis Grand Prix in Monaco on Friday, saying the men's team made some mistakes even though they ran a fast 37.61 seconds, while the women's 'A' team failed to complete their baton passes and was disqualified.

Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt, who set the present World Record in the final in Daegu last year, along with Kemar Bailey-Cole, have all spent time in the camp and have been able to practice.

Bailey-Cole, who was fifth in the men's 100m finals at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials in a personal best 10.00 seconds, could be asked to anchor in the first round as was Dexter Lee in Daegu last year.

If Powell, who anchored the team to gold four years ago in Beijing is not in the team, the projected order could be Carter, Frater, Blake and Bolt for the final, assuming they get there.

Powell, who was third in the men's 100m at Trials despite nursing a sore groin, has started the relay for his MVP club on several occasions, including at the 34th Milo Western Relays in Montego Bay in February where he got the baton to Frater ahead of everyone else.

Powell also led off a Jamaican squad at the Penn Relays last year, also handing over to Frater.

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