Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sprints Hot in Jamaica Without Bolt or Gay


The hottest sprinting of the weekend was not in the Doha Diamond league event on Friday, but at the Jamaican Invitational in Kingston on Saturday. Given the results in Kingston and the talk earlier in the week about the meets being scheduled too close together, you can bet that somebody will have a different place on the schedule next year.

But another time to talk about the scheduling woes of the sport. Jamaica is about sprinting, and Jamaica’s best stayed home for the weekend to ply their wares on the newly laid track at National Stadium. And the results on the track were pretty impressive.

Carmelita Jeter (USA) got the track hot by scorching the track for a new world leader in the 100 with her 10.86 (+1.9). Excellent sprinting for any time of the year, let alone early May. It seems she may be on her way back to the 10.6x zone. It’s still very early in the season, but she’s moving into a favorites position unless others begin to step up soon. Here her closest competitor was Kelly Ann Baptiste (TRI) in 10.94. Beijing co-silver medalists Sherone Simpson (JAM) and Kerron Stewart (JAM) were well back as both ran 11.07.

Jeter’s win was the only victory to break up the Jamaican sprint party on this day however, as immediately following in the men’s race Yohan Blake controlled things handily with a 9.80 (+2.2) victory. Slightly windy, but still impressive. He too was well up on second place as Daniel Bailey (ANT) was well back in 9.94, just ahead of Michael Rodgers (USA) 9.96. With 9.89/19.78 credentials last year, Blake’s race here confirms that he is a serious threat to make the Jamaican team for Doha in both sprints – and a threat for both finals.

Jamaica repeated it’s winning ways in the 200. First in the women’s race with Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce moving up from the 100 (Olympic and World champion in ‘08/’09) and blazed the turn on her way to a 22.10 (+2.4) victory. While the wind negated the legality of the race, the fact that second place was held by Veronica Campbell Brown (JAM, 22.37), the ‘04 & ‘08 Olympic champion, makes Fraser Pryce a potential threat here as well. As this race certainly marked her as someone to watch in this event.

The men’s race gave us yet another sprinter to watch this year as Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) moved from promising youngster to accomplished sprinter as he became the newest member of the sub 20 club with his 19.95 (+1.6) win. The victory gave him the world lead, and broke the stadium record set by Tyson Gay in 2007 (19.97). His win came against some big names in the sport with yearly 100 leader Steve Mullings (JAM, 20.15), World and Olympic medalist Wallace Spearmon (USA, 20.16), and last year’s 100 co-leader Nesta Carter (JAM, 20.25) all some distance behind. The race saw one time 100 WR holder Asafa Powell (JAM) in 8th place as Jamaican youth were on display on this day.

It’s still very early in the season, and one can only imagine what we will see when Bolt and Gay finally take to the track, but I think it is safe to say that the sprints are going to command center stage this year – and the rivalry between the US and Jamaica just had more logs thrown onto the fire! Anyone wanting to be in the mix this year is going to have to bring his AND her “A” game!

And I can’t go without mentioning another world leader from Kenia Sinclair (JAM) as she outran Phoebe Wright (USA) in the 800 1:58.41 to 1:59.98 in a replay of their anchor legs at Penn. Jamaica may be sprint happy (and with good reason) but Sinclair could bring home a middle distance medal in Doha. And it’s nice to see Phoebe under 2:00 so early in the season.

Today belonged to Jamaica, however, as they feasted on home cooking. For full meet results click here. The weekend isn’t over and there are still more results to come in. But it’s going to take some to top the sprinting that took place in Kingston.

1 comment:

  1. Yohan looked so strong in the 100m, as did Nickel in the 200m. What happened to Asafa? I thought I saw a slight stutter in his step, then he slowed down.