Ja's realistic medal hunt begins with day one of athleticsThursday, July 29, 2021
TOKYO, Japan – For many this is where the real hunt for medals begins.
In track and field athletics.
And on today's opening day at the Olympic Stadium here, Jamaican athletes, famously known as sprint superpowers, are expected to make a statement on intent and showcase the speed for which they are recognised and revered.
Paul Francis, of MVP Track Club, told the Jamaica Observer that his athletes are as prepared as they can be.
“And by extension we are hoping for great performances from them. We are not responsible for the preparation of others, so it would be remiss of me to speculate on placing or medals at this time, but we are genuinely hoping for the best with a little luck,” he said.
MVP will parade the bulk of the medal prospects including Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson in the 100m and 200m, as well as Stephenie Ann McPherson in the 400m, and Tajay Gayle in the long jump.
A total of 14 athletes will grace the Olympic Stadium today, as well as another four athletes who will comprise the 4x400m mixed relay team, which is expected to close out action for Jamaica in session two at approximately 8:12 pm (6:12 am Jamaica time).
The first Jamaican athlete scheduled to taste action is Traves Smikle, who will contest Group A of the men's discus throw qualification at 9:45 am (7:45 pm Thursday Jamaica time). He is set to wear bib number 2632 and will be 11th in the order of 16. Smikle has a personal best of 67.72m, and a season's best of 62.10m. He's ranked number 20 in the world at present.
At 11:20 am, Jamaica's main medal hopeful Fedrick Dacres takes to the field in Group B wearing bib number 2570. He will be fourth in the order of 16, and the number two ranked thrower has a personal best of 70.78m and a season's best of 66.01m.
Dacres will be accompanied by compatriot Chad Wright, who dons bib number 2651 and will be last in the order of 16. He's ranked 33rd in the world and has a personal best of 66.54m and a season's best of 62.78m.
The qualifying performance for the discus is 66.0m or at least 12 best performers advance to the final.
Natoya Goule will be the first Jamaican on the track when she contests heat two of six, of the first round of the women's 800m at 10:33 am.
Set to wear bib number 2484, Goule, who is drawn at lane one of eight, is ranked number two in the world at present and has a personal best of 1:56.15 minutes and a season's best of 1:56.44 minutes.
In this event, the first three in each heat advance automatically to the semi-finals, along with the next six fastest qualifiers.
The men's 400m hurdles takes centre stage at 11:25 am with the first of five heats.
Kemar Mowatt, with bib #2611, is drawn in lane four of seven. He has a personal best of 48.49 seconds and a season's best of 48.75 seconds with a world ranking of 12.
Jaheel Hyde (bib #2592) is drawn in lane four of eight, with a personal best and season's best of 48.18 seconds and is ranked 29th. He faces the starter at 11:33 am.
Shawn Rowe closes out the Jamaican trio when he runs in heat four, lane four of seven at 11:49 am. He has a personal best of 49.04secs and a personal best of 49.53secs.
It will be the first four in each heat who qualify automatically to the semi-finals, with the four fastest qualifiers also advancing.
There will be seven heats in round one of the women's 100m where Jamaica is expected to flex its muscles with two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, reigning Olympic 100m gold medallist Thompson-Herah and the vastly improved Jackson down to compete.
Those races are set to begin at 12:15 pm and close off the morning session with the seventh heat at 1:03 pm. The heat and lane assignments have not yet been finalised because today's track session will begin with three races in the preliminary round of the women's 100m.
Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts are set to compete in the women's triple jump at the start of the evening session at 7.05 pm.
Williams will contest Group A with a bib number of 2532 and boasting a personal and seasonal best of 14.69m, and a world ranking of number 4. She will be the second competitor of 17.
Group B, which will be contested simultaneously, has Ricketts first in the order of 17 wearing bib # 2512. The world number two ranked jumper has a personal best and seasonal best 14.98m.
The qualifying performance is 14.40m or at least 12 best performers advance to the final.
Following the triple jump will be the women's shot put at 7:25 pm. Lloydricia Cameron will contest Group A wearing bib #2465 as the fifth thrower of 16. She has a personal best and seasonal best of 18.33m and is ranked 27th.
Danniel Thomas-Dodd will contest Group B wearing bib #2519 and is fourth in the order of 16. She has a personal best of 19.55m, with a seasonal best of 19.26m.
Qualifying performance is 18.0m or at least 12 best performers to advance to the final.
And in the mixed 4x400m relay, Jamaica is drawn in heat two, lane five of eight at 8:12 pm.
The Jamaicans enter the heat with a season's best of 3:20.71 minutes, the slowest in that particular heat, and surprisingly, only the US with 3:34.66 minutes have a slower time of the 15 competing teams.
The Jamaicans are drawn alongside Poland, India, Ukraine, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil and Netherlands.
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