World Juniors on American soil promises great things
If preliminary figures are anything to go by, this year's staging of the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon to be held July 22-27 could be the largest IAAF event ever held on American soil.
With the deadline for the preliminary entries having passed last week, 177 member federations, including Jamaica, have expressed interest in the championships with 1,758 athletes provisionally entered, a release from the IAAF said earlier this week.
Even with the usual drop in the actual entries form the provisional list, the figures could pass the numbers from the 1992 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Boston, where 580 athletes from around the world competed and the 1987 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis, where 84 nations took part, the release also noted.
Vin Lananna, president of the local organising committee for the IAAF World Junior Championships, said "we couldn't be more excited for this fantastic event and to welcome our guests from around the world".
"I know that the entire TrackTown community will do everything in its power to make this an unforgettable experience for both the athletes and fans," he said.
Jamaica won just five medals — two gold, two silver and a bronze — at the most recent World Junior Championships, held in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
Fedrik Dacres in the boys discus and Janieve Russell in the girls 400m hurdles both won gold medals. The boys 4x100m and the girls 4x400m relays teams won silver medals, while Odean Skeen won a bronze in the mens 100m.
Jamaica were ninth on the points tables with 59.
The Jamaican team will be selected at the National Junior Championships set for June and the team is expected to be made up of most of the athletes who were outstanding at last year's IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, where Jamaica topped the medals tables with a total of eight medals, six of which were gold.
Yanique Thompson set a World Youth best 12.94 seconds in the 100m hurdles, Jaheel Hyde set a Championships Record 13.13 seconds in the 110m hurdles, Michael O'Hara won the 200m, Martin Manley won the 400m, Marvin Williams won the 400m hurdles while the boys' medley relay team also won gold.
Tiffany James and Christoffe Bryan both won bronze medals in the girls 400m and boys high jump, respectively.