Jamaican women will have to work hard to medal in 400m
WHILE most pundits back Jamaican women to cop podium finishes in the shorter women's sprints, the same will not obtain in the 400 metres dash at the London Olympics.
Jamaica's number one female 400 metres runner is currently Novelene Williams-Mills, who won the National Trials in a time of 50.60. Rosemarie Whyte (50.78) was second and third was Christine Day in a time of 51.00.
Williams-Mills is known as a fighter with a never-say-die attitude and has as good a chance as any of taking the gold medal in London. However she will have to be in top form to topple 400m-specialist Sanya Richards-Ross of the USA. The feat is not impossible as Williams-Mills proved at the Jamaica Invitational meet in May when she ran past Richards-Ross in the closing stages to the delight of the partisan crowd.
However Richards-Ross turned the tables a few weeks later in the Diamond League.
Another serious contender for the gold medal in London will be Amantle Montsho of Botswana, who put in a plucky performance to beat Williams-Mills in the Samsung Diamond League in Paris last Friday.
The Botswana national is the reigning world champion and looked in imperious form on her last outing.
Another serious challenger is the reigning Olympic champion, Christine Ohogouru of Britain, who, although not in the best of form always reserves her best for the big day.
If all the top runners turn up for the final in the women's 400m then it could be a humdinger.
While Day and Whyte are world-class contenders capable of great things, it might be a stretch to see them on the Olympic medal podium this summer.