By Rufus Baird, writer

With just over two months to go before this summer’s Olympics get underway  in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, 177 of the region’s athletes have placed themselves in contention to make the trip to Rio by achieving the qualifying standards. With the qualifying period set from May 1, 2015 to July 11 2016, athletes had just over one year and three months to make the necessary marks.

However, attaining a standard is not an automatic ticket to Brazil for athletes in Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in particular, where competing at the National Championships later this month, is a requirement to be selected. 

For other countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands,  US Virgin Islands St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada and Guyana, the athletes with standards already can begin to pack for Rio.

Qualifying standards not enough for Bolt, Fraser-Pryce

Jamaican athletes have to face off in a do-or-die trials with a top three finish needed to book a place in Rio, given the large of pool of athletes who have attained the standards. Two-time defending Olympic champion, Usain Bolt, leads a field of 19 men to have dipped under the 10.16 mark for the 100m and 2008/20012 Olympic gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is among 14, who have gone quicker than the 11.32 mark in the women’s 100m.  In the 200m, Bolt sits on top a field of ten competitors, who have gone faster than the 20.50 standard for the event while Fraser-Pryce and 15 others have run past the 23.20 mark in the women’s half lap sprint. 

VCB ruled out of Beijing 2008 100m

One cannot forget at the 2008 Olympic trials when then reigning World 100m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown finished fourth at the ladies’ short sprint and was not selected to compete in the 100m at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, despite clocking 10.89.  In the women’s 400m, 13 athletes are quicker than the 52.20 standard while seven quarter milers  have gone under the 45.40 for the men’s event.  World Champion, Danielle Williams, leads six women who have got the mark of 13.00 in the 100m hurdles, while another six have achieved the  56.20 time in the 400m hurdles. 

Bahamas in top gear

In the Bahamas, the race for spots in the women’s 200m and men’s 400m will be the fiercest. National record holder (22.14), Shaunae Miller, is among five ladies who have gone faster than the 23.20 mark in the 200m while twenty year old Steven Gardiner heads a list of five in the men’s one lap with his national record mark of 44.27. 

The men’s high jump will be another show piece event for the Bahamians with 2007 World Champion, Donald Thomas (2.34), squaring off against fellow standard bearers, Jamal Wilson (2.31) and Trevor Barry (2.29). Ryan Ingraham will be looking to displace one of them to be on the plane to Brazil.  


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