Jamaica's elite athletes ready to rumble as trials run off todayThursday, June 24, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
Today's opening day of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior Championships could be the calm before the storm that is expected to descend on National Stadium as the cream of the crop of Jamaica's athletes seek to book their places on national teams for international competition set for July.
The elite of Jamaica's track and field, based on the results over the next four days, will head to Tokyo, Japan, for the postponed Olympic Games, while a team will also represent Jamaica at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in Costa Rica in two weeks' time.
After last year's postponement of the Olympic Games due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent cancellation of the championships, the athletes — particularly those based overseas — will be competing in Jamaica for the first time in two years.
However, the athletes will be competing before empty stands based on protocols hammered out by the Government of Jamaica and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, fans will not be allowed at the venue.
The JAAA said: “All senior athletes, local and foreign-based, who are desirous of participating in the JAAA Junior and Senior National Championships, present a negative PCR test before their event begins. These tests will be free of cost to the athletes and results will be available in 24 hours.”
The release said also that testing facilities have been temporarily installed at the offices of the JAAA at 6 Tremaine Road to accommodate the required tests that started yesterday.
One final is set to be contested tonight, the men's javelin throw while the first rounds of the men's and women's 400m hurdles will also be held.
While there were no surprise entries for the senior championships that will be run alongside the junior, there was one glaring omission as St Elizabeth Technical's Sachin Dennis' name was not in either of the two men's 100m lists — senior or junior.
Dennis, who is a junior, has a personal best of 10.15 seconds, still shy of the Olympic qualifying mark of 10.05 seconds, but is ranked number four among the Under-20 men.
Seventy-three men are down to run the men's 100m which will start this morning at 9:30 am with a qualify round where 49 of the entries will compete for eight spots in this evening's quarter-finals.
The Jamaican male senior sprinters have not set the world on fire so far this year with MVP TC's Nigel Ellis the leader with 10.04 seconds followed by former World Championships gold medallist Yohan Blake with a season's best 10.05 seconds.
The women, however, have been on fire and they will also be in action in their first round when world leader Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who recently lowered her national record to 10.63 seconds, will compete for the first time since she became the second woman to go under 10.70 seconds.
Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah leads a group of talented women who will be seeking their spots on the plane to Tokyo, including national junior record holder Briana Williams, Natasha Morrison and Kemba Nelson.
Meanwhile Natalliah White, Ashanti Moore, Shashalee Forbes and newcomer Shockoria Wallace will be looking to secure spots in Friday's final.
Four women — led by 2017 National champions Ronda Whyte — have already gone under the qualifying time for the 400m hurdles, but it is expected to be a battle for the three spots.
World and Olympic finalist Janieve Russell, World Under-20 silver medallist Shiann Salmon and 2016 Olympic finalist Leah Nugent have also made the standard, but it is expected they could have company in Friday's final.
Andrenette Knight of the University of Virginia, the ACC champion and NCAA Division One finalist, Doha World Championships bronze medallist Rushell Clayton and US Junior College champion Lashanna Graham will all have their eyes on a place on the team.
World Championships finalist Kemar Mowatt and World Under-20 finalist Leonardo Ledgister are the only Jamaican men with the Olympic standard in the men's 400m hurdles so far.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login