31.07.2014. Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Women's 400m Hurdles final from Hampden Park. Kaliese Spencer and Janieve Russell of Jamaican won Gold and Bronze

photomark 1 1024x531 1024x531 1Jamaica’s uncertain entries in the Rio 2016 Olympics, are finally beginning to clear up, but of course not without some controversy. 4 World leading athletes were granted Medical Exemptions from competing or completing their events at the National Senior Trials back in June. As a stipulation to the medical exemption, the athletes were given time to prove their fitness.

Usain Bolt showed that he was ready when he dropped his 19.89sec to win the 200m race in the London Diamond league meeting on July 22. Now it’s being reported that hurdler Hansle Parchment is out, seeing that his injury does not seem to be letting up.
Team Jamaica Manager, Ludlow Watts, has confirmed the decision out of Rio, that 3rd place finisher, Andrew Riley, will run the 110m hurdles and is now en route to Brazil to join the team.

So now 2 spots, one for the women’s 200m (Elaine Thompson) and 400iH (Jenieve Russel) remain in a bit of cloud, whilst athletes Kali Davis-White and Kaliese Spencer remain on the proverbial bubble. Both Thompson and Russell, who are coached by Stephen Francis, still have to prove fitness by August 8th per the JAAA. However, Coach Francis with his knowledge and experience of the game, insists that that timetable was something arbitrary and without merit.

With so many days after the Jamaica trials, Coach Francis, who clearly supports the medical exemption rule, seems to want to further add his own spin on things. Given that Russell competes in the 400iH and final entries can be sent in the day before the event, Francis insists that his athletes need not prove their fitness on or by Aug 8. Francis wants his athletes to prove their fitness closer to the date of their event competition. The JAAA is insisting the athletes complete physicals on August 8 since there is no chance of competition and it wouldn’t make sense to try and race them so close to their event start date.

This is what we can expect when the medical exemption rule is applied. It is extremely unfair to athletes who are continuing to train and not knowing what the future holds. But one has to ask, at these Olympics, if an athlete is not ready 7 days before competition, how are we sure they would be ready 4 days or worse…the day before? As it stands with the JAAA and their Medical Exemptions, its 2 down, 2 to Go!


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