By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
Jamaica has dominated men’s sprinting at every major championship since 2008 courtesy of the incomparable and inspirational Usain Bolt. However, some observers believe that the country’s dominance will come under serious threat from the United States of America in 2015.
Interestingly, both countries will be having their national championships to select representatives to Beijing, China at around the same time. Usain Bolt is the defending World Champion and by virtue of that designation, has an automatic bye to the championship. This makes for a very intriguing men’s 100m showdown at the JAAA National Senior trials. At the time of writing, 16 men have run below 10 seconds this season with only two Jamaicans on that list, Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter. Fans will hope that come Friday night, the list will be longer with more Jamaicans on it.
Two of the countries premier sprinters in Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake who were absent last season will be seeking to make a triumphant return to national duties. Powell has looked in pristine form running undefeated so far and barring any unforeseen circumstance should book his ticket to Beijing at the end of this event on June 26, 2015.
Blake the youngest ever 100m World Champion in 2011, is returning from a career threatening injury, however, he lacks that competitive edge due to inactivity. Nevertheless, Blake is very determined to make the team and his quest to do so seems possible by the fact that only a few Jamaican sprinters have been racing well this season. Many fans are encouraged by the pronouncements of Coach Glen Mills, that Blake is in good physical shape, it is just for him to regain his confidence and stop worrying about getting hurt again. Some observers believe once Blake conquers his fears, climbing back to the top will seem like taking the elevator.
Therefore, Blake who did not get a chance to defend his World title could squeeze a spot on the team provided he gets all aspects of his race in order. Last year’s National champion, Nickel Ashmeade, will also be seeking to defend his title. Ashmeade will not want to relinquish his title without a fight; however, come Friday night he might feel like someone surrounded by a gang coming to take his lunch money.
The veteran Nesta Carter is an athlete who commands respect for maintaining his health, longevity and work ethic that hardly ever sees him on the injury list. However, Jamaican fans would love to see Carter registering more sub-10 seconds on a consistent basis. He will be hoping to make the Jamaica team and then qualify for his third consecutive World Championship 100m final. Carter won a bronze medal in the Moscow Championship in 2013.
Commonwealth 100m champion, Kemar Bailey-Cole represents the next generation of Jamaican sprinters coming through the ranks. Despite not making waves during the first half of the season, Bailey-Cole remains an important member of Jamaica’s sprint factory. The lanky sprinter should be right in the mix of things in the final. Bailey-Cole will be seeking to secure his second World Championship trip as an individual sprinter.
One of the top local collegiate sprinters, Andrew Fisher, will be hoping to make his first World Championship team. Fisher has shown in the last three years that it is only a matter of time before he cracks the 10 seconds barrier. He registered a personal best of 10.01 seconds at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet on May 9, 2015. This race could be the moment when Fisher announces himself in giant killing fashion. University of Technology (UTECH) Classic winner and Inter-Collegiate runner-up, Kemarley Brown, is a doubtful starter, as he seems to have not recovered sufficiently from the injury received at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet when he did not finish the 100m. Jason Livermore since 2013 has been consistently placing in the final top six at the National Championships. This determined athlete will be firing on all cylinders to make the team.
One athlete who could spring a surprise at the senior trials if he decides to compete is Senoj-Jay Givans. The former Munro College standout has been having a successful collegiate season for the University of Texas. Givans ran a then personal best 10.07 (+1.9 m/s) at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships in May, which was also a Texas school record. On June 10, 2015, at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Givans establish a new personal best 10.03 (+0.9 m/s) in the semi-finals. He placed fourth (9.97 +2.7 m/s) two days later in a highly competitive final. Givans is a very intelligent and consistent performer and one who could give his more fancied rivals a scare on Friday evening.
Julian Forte is a very outstanding sprint relay runner. The UTECH athlete will be vying for a spot at the trials with an impressive run. Forte won the men’s 100m ‘B’ race at the Rome Diamond League in 10.07 (-0.3 m/s) and followed up with a season best 10.06 (+1.9 m/s) in heat one of the Birmingham Diamond League 100m, however, he could not replicate that performance in the final registering 10.15 seconds.
Forte has been busy on the circuit mainly competing in the half lap event (200m), however, with the exception of Usain Bolt there is no guaranteed place for any male athlete and therefore competing in both sprints at the JAAA trials to make the team might be a wise decision.
This 100m event will be one of the most intense attractions at the JAAA National Senior Championships, and the hearts of thousands of fans will be thumping like a piston Friday night especially when the athletes move into the set position.
A lot is at stake and with three spots up for grabs, the likelihood of a humdinger race is highly possible. Who will join Bolt in Beijing?
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]