Sport

No Bolt, but plenty of stars for Senior Trials

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, June 26, 2014    

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THE JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships that will be used to select teams for three competitions, including the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, gets underway this morning with the first round of the men's 100m at the National Stadium at 10:00.

In addition to the Commonwealth Games, athletes will also be vying for places on teams to the first Pan-American Senior Championships in Mexico as well as the NACAC Under-23 in Canada.

One final, the men's javelin, will be contested during the afternoon session today, while there will be heats in the men's and women's 400m hurdles, the first round of the women's 100m and the second round of the men's 100m.

The top eight from the morning's heats will join 24 others in the quarter-finals set for later in the day.

Despite the absence of superstar sprinters, triple world record holder Usain Bolt, former World Championships 100m winner Yohan Blake and World and Olympic sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the four-day event is still expected to be competitive with a number of rising stars down to stake claims for places on the various teams.

Bolt and Blake have not made themselves available for selection, while Fraser-Pryce, who has been nursing suspected shin splints, has asked to be considered for the relay team only in Glasgow.

The absence of the mega stars will, however, open doors for a number of veterans as well as up-and-coming youngsters to stake a claim for their moment in the spotlight.

Three-time world record holder Asafa Powell and his former MVP training partner Sherone Simpson, an Olympic 100m silver medallist, will make their first competitive appearance since last June after they were provisionally cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to compete this weekend, while their appeals against the 18-month doping suspensions are being considered.

Multiple Olympic and World Championships gold medallist Veronica Campbell Brown will also return to the Kingston track for the first time since last year May after her two-year ban for an illegal substance was overturned by CAS earlier this year.

Campbell Brown, who has the second fastest 100m for women this year after running 10.86 seconds at a low-keyed meet in Claremont, Florida last month, should lead the women's 100m today with the likes of Samantha Henry-Wilson along with the trio of Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart and Schillonie Calvert — relay gold medallists from the World Championships in Moscow last year — all pushing for spots on the team to Glasgow.

Veterans Nesta Carter, who beat Blake at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in New York two weekends ago; Michael Frater who is on the comeback trail after an injury plagued 2013 season; World Championship finalists Kemar Bailey Cole and Nickel Ashmeade will lead what is expected to be an interesting men's 100m.

The 31-year-old Powell, who was seventh at last year's Trials after being side-lined by injuries, will add intrigue to the event and no doubt many will come out tomorrow to see how he fares over the semi-finals and final, if he makes it that far, having not competed in a year.

World Leader Kaliese Spencer, who looks in world-beating form, is expected to lead the women's 400m hurdles chase with Ristananna Tracey and former World Junior champion Janieve Russell expected to give her a run to the line in the final on Friday night.

The men's race should be wide open with Roxroy Cato, who led the world rankings earlier this year and Olympic teammate Leford Green expected to lead the charge.

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