TODAY’S semi-finals and finals of the Men’s 100m will be hot, says former world record holder and defending national champion Asafa Powell after last night’s quarter-final round on the opening day of the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships.
While world record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt and training partner, world champion Yohan Blake, declined invitations to talk to the media after winning their races, Powell looked relaxed and smiled as he addressed the press after jogging 10.19 seconds, the same time as his MVP training partner Nesta Carter.
“It’s the heats, so we were taking it easy,” Powell said, adding that he was not even trying to work on any part of his race, just getting through the opening phase and staying relaxed.
Today, however, he says he plans to “go all out as the semi-finals and the finals will be hot”, Powell said.
Earlier, Bolt eased to a 10.06 seconds time in the first heat, beating Jacques Harvey and Mario Forsythe before leaving the track right with a white towel over his head with members of the media in tow.
Blake followed soon after with 10.00 seconds — the best on the night — ahead of Kemar Bailey-Cole and Oshane Bailey, while Michael Frater won the final heat in 10.09, ahead of Lerone Clarke.
The semi-finals are set to start at 7:25 this evening after the Women’s semis.
Due to insufficient entries, the first round of the Women’s 100m that was due to be run yesterday was scrapped with only 20 entries received.
Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, former world champion Veronica Campbell Brown and Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart head the field and are expected to battle for the top places tonight.
Earlier, in the morning session, defending Olympic champion Melanie Walker led the Women’s qualifiers into this afternoon’s 400m hurdles final set to start at 8:20, after winning her first-round heat in 54.88 seconds, well ahead of second placed Shevon Stoddart, 56.09.
Holmwood Technical schoolgirl Janieve Russell, who is preparing for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, was third in a personal best 57.04, followed by Daegu World Championships semi-finalist Ristananna Tracey, 57.92, the slowest of the eight who have advanced.
Two-time World Championships finalists Kaliese Spencer won the first semi-final heat in 55.92, followed by University of Texas’s Daniel Dowie, 56.85; Nikita Tracey, 56.95; and Sonali Merill, 57.89.
Josef Robertson clocked 50.03 seconds to win his semifinal heat in the Men’s 400m hurdles to lead the qualifiers going into the finals, just ahead of Roxroy Cato, the fastest Jamaican this season, who ran 50.09, while defending champion Leford Green (50.57) and Bryan Steele (50.14) also won their heat.
Adrian Findlay, Danny McFarlane, Isa Phillips and Sabiel Anderson also qualified.
Six other finals will be contested today: the Men’s triple jump, Women’s discus throw, Women’s long jump, 500m men and both 1500m events.
Christine Day, a member of the Jamaica team to the 2009 Berlin World Championships, is the surprise leader after the first round of the Women’s 400m in the afternoon session.
The former Tacky High student clocked 51.50 seconds to win her heat, while favourites Novlene Williams- Mills, Rosemarie Whyte, Olympic silver medallist Shericka Williams, and Davita Prendergast all advanced to tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Holmwood’s Chrisann Gordon, who is preparing for the IAAF World Championships in Barcelona in two weeks, also qualified after placing third in her heat in a season’s best 52.40.