It’s unlikely the 110m hurdles at this weekend’s JAAA National Senior Championships will provide the kind of fireworks that it did last year, but nothing can be ruled out in what has become a fiercely contested event on the schedule.
Four men — Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod, the last two Olympic champions and the top Jamaicans so far this year, Olympic bronze medallist Ronald Levy and Rasheed Broadbell — have all achieved the qualifying standards for the World Championships to be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, set to start in about three weeks.
There is, however, a list including some strong candidates such as former World Under-20 medallists Damion Thomas and Orlando Bennett; US based collegians LaFranz Campbell and Phillip Lemonious, as well as the resurgent Michael O’Hara, who should make the event interesting.
Last year with COVID-19 restrictions still in force, both sprint hurdles finals were held in hot and humid conditions on Sunday morning and, while then reigning Olympic champion McLeod wilted by hitting the first hurdle and was out of contention, Hansle Parchment bloomed spectacularly as he was third in the event and went on to win the gold later in Tokyo.
Parchment went into last year’s championships under a cloud of uncertainty as injuries had limited him to just one preparation meet, but has been in sparkling form so far this year, winning all four events he ran.
Levy, who has not competed since the World Indoors in March, could be in doubt for the Trials, while McLeod skipped his final prep race last week in Oslo, citing physical and emotional issues, but he is expected to be in top form this weekend, seeking to atone for last year’s mishap.
Thomas has struggled in his first season as a professional but has run 13.40m seconds despite failing to finish a race in Holland just over a week ago.
Lemonious, of the University of Arkansas, will be seeking to salvage some thing from his season after failing to make to the NCAA National Championships.
Campbell finished his career at Clemson University with a personal best 13.45 seconds at the NCAA Nationals at Hayward Field two weeks ago and could spring a surprise this weekend.