By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
World record holder Usain Bolt and compatriot Asafa Powell will make their European debut at the 54th Ostrava Golden Spike meet in Czech Republic on Tuesday May 26, 2015. Both athletes are expected to put on a great show at the sold out meet in the newly renovated stadium with a seating capacity of 15,000 and four huge electronic screens.
This will be Bolt’s seventh appearance in Ostrava and he will compete in the 200m, an event where he established the meet record of 19.83 seconds in 2008. Several observers are keen to see this race to determine what sort of shape Bolt is in at this time. Bolt told reporters on his arrival in Ostrava that training had gone well back home and he is feeling good at this time.
Bolt will have to contend with a mixture of youth and experience from his main challengers in this event. Included in the field is the 24 year-old US-born Kenyan athlete, Carvin Nkanata, who ran a personal best of 20.14 seconds in April. Another upcoming athlete, Pako Seribe from Botswana, a country that is turning out a few athletes of late is also in the field. Seribe has a personal best of 20.17 seconds. Great Britain’s veteran sprinter James Ellington (29) is the oldest man in the field and he along with American Isiah Young should push Bolt to a nice exercise run.
Asafa Powell who is on his fourth visit to Ostrava will headline a decent looking men’s 100m field. He was one of the first athletes to arrive in Ostrava for this meet. Powell, the second fastest sprinter this season will be aiming to maintain his form and produce another outstanding sub-ten seconds time. He should be helped along the way by Great Britain’s Richard Kilty, the reigning World Indoor champion at 60m. Kilty recently ran a personal best 10.09 seconds on May 17, 2015 and will be aiming to go faster. Powell’s other possible challenge could come from Americans Charles Silmon (9.98 PB) and Isiah Young (9.99 PB). The consistent Mosito Lehata from Lesotho is also in the line-up. Lehata has a personal best of 10.11 seconds.
Two of Jamaica’s best female sprinters desperately in need of good times going into next month’s JAAA senior trials, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, will square off in the 200m. The 30 year-old Simpson’s best effort this season over 200m is 22.64 seconds. She is showing gradual improvement and hopefully can get another season best in Ostrava.
The combative 31 year-old Stewart must demonstrate some of those characteristics in the limited time left for the Jamaica National Senior Trials. Hopefully this meet and others alike will greatly assist her in running into form and returning to the level that she is capable of. Stewart and Simpson will get the necessary competition from Charonda Williams of the United States alongside Bianca Williams and Margaret Adeoye of Great Britain.
Jamaica’s Edino Steele will compete in the 300m. Steele has a personal best of 32.32 seconds in this rarely run event. Steele, a member of Jamaica’s quarter-mile squad, is in need of speed and Jamaican fans will be looking on in earnest at his performance. Belgium’s Kevin Borlee and local hero Pavel Maslak could drag Steele to a new personal best in this event.
A number of other world class athletes from various disciplines will be on show at this meet. These include defending World champion at 400m hurdles Zuzana Hejnova, who has competed sparingly this season. She will be hoping to put on a good show in front of her home crowd. She will however have her hands full in keeping pace with current world leader Wanda Nel of South Africa who ran 54.37 seconds in Beijing on May 20, 2015. Kori Carter of the United States and Eilidh Child of Great Britain will also feature in this event.
Olympic Champion and world record holder at 800m, David Rudisha of Kenya, will be competing at a shorter distance in the 600m event. The 6ft 3 inches Kenyan is back to full health and will be aiming to lower his personal best of 1:13.71 seconds done in Birmingham in 2014. If Rudisha is successful, it will be a good sign for the World Championship in August as he makes long distance running fun to watch.
The men’s 1000m is shaping up to be a classic match up on the day. It will feature Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, the 1500m World champion and Timothy Kitum, the London Olympics bronze medallist at 800m. France’s Pierre-Ambrosie Bosse and Marcin Lewandowski of Poland will make the event absorbing. Ukraine’s Bogdan Bondarenko and Andriy Protsenko will highlight the men’s high jump.
The men’s javelin contest will feature Trinidad & Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott going up against a quality field which includes Tero Pitkamaki, Vitezslav Vesely, Petr Frydrych, Thomas Rohler and Julius Yego.
The meet starts at 10:30 a.m. Jamaica time (EST) with the opening ceremony and will be broadcast in over 150 countries around the world and can be seen on Sportsmax (Caribbean), Eurosport, Sky Sports, Supersport (Africa), Band Sports (Brazil) among others. See schedule of selected events:
10:55 a.m. – Women’s 400m hurdles
11:00 a.m. – Men’s High Jump
11:05 a.m. – Women’s 200m
11:15 a.m. – Men’s 1000m
11:25 a.m. – Women’s 1500m
11:45 a.m. – Women’s 100m hurdles
12:00 p.m. – Men’s 100m
12:05 p.m. – Men’s Javelin Throw
12:30 p.m. – Men’s 600m
12:40 p.m. – Men’s 300m
12:50 p.m. – Men’s 200m
About the Author:
Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis is a very exciting and creative freelance sports writer specializing in the fields of athletics and cricket. His colourful down to earth yet professional personality makes him a favourite amongst athletes and fans. Readers are often exposed to his detailed knowledge and passion which usually increase their interest in the athletes, events and the sport overall. He has a first degree in Banking & Finance and works in the financial industry. Contact Noel at [email protected]