Over 400 athletes will get their Rio Olympics campaign under way over the next four days at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships as the island’s best take focus at the National Stadium.
Today’s opening day of action gets out of the blocks with intense action, which will be highlighted by the men’s 100m quarter-finals and the women’s 100m heats (6:40 p.m.) as the suns sets.
However, track and field purists will certainly be paying attention to the early activities, with the first event actually set to start at 10 a.m., with the qualifying round of the men’s 100m, which will send seven athletes through to this evening’s quarter-finals, which is set to face the starter at 7 p.m.
This is where things truly get exciting with the likes of six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, Nickel Ashmeade, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, and Kemar Bailey-Cole spearheading what should be an intriguing quarter-final showdown ahead of tomorrow’s semis (7:12 p.m.) and final (9:15 p.m.).
Also on today’s schedule is the heats of the women’s 400m hurdles at 6:05 p.m., with the male equivalent set to begin 15 minutes later. The finals are set for tomorrow at 8:10pm and 8:20 p.m. respectively.
There will also be two field events finals on today’s opening day – the men’s Javelin at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s Triple jump at 5:32 p.m.
RANKED NUMBER TWO
Defending champion and the country’s top woman in the event Janieve Russell is drawn in the first heat of the women’s 400m hurdles, where the top two and the next two best times will qualify for the finals.
With a season and personal best of 53.96 seconds done at the Rome Diamond League, Russell is ranked at number two on the World List and is one of only three athletes to have gone sub-54 seconds so far this season.
She should qualify easily for tomorrow’s final.
Despite a disappointing season so far, Kaliese Spencer should also advance, along with Ristananna Tracey, Rhonda Whyte, and Nikita Tracey.
Jamaican males have been struggling so far this season in the event, and it should be very close finishes in all three heats.
Roxroy Cato, the country’s best so far with a 48.98 seconds done at the Racers Grand Prix, should win the opening heat ,with the likes of Josef Robertson and Leford Green fighting it out for second.
World Junior champion Jaheel Hyde, with a best of 49.16 seconds, along with former national champion Isa Phillips, and a dangerous Ricardo Cunningham, along with Annsert Whyte, the defending champion, are the names to watch.
The women will waste little time in showing their intentions when the opening round of the 100m gets going.
With injuries derailing her development so far, University of Technology’s Christania Williams, who has been bang in form this season with a personal best of 11.07 seconds, should win ahead of Schillone Calvert and Audra Segree in her heat.
Simone Facey will come up against Kerron Stewart in Heat Two, with defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also expected to make light work of qualifying from Heat Three ahead of Remona Burchell and Natasha Morrison.
Veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown will grace the track in Heat Four, where another easy win is expected, while Elaine Thompson with a best of 10.87 seconds should also book her spot without fuss from the fifth and final heat.