KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sporting Alert – Elaine Thompson and Yohan Blake won the women’s and men’s 100m titles at the 2016 Jamaica Olympic Trials, but there were some concerns over the fitness of Usain Bolt, who withdrew from the championships on Friday night.
BOLT PULLS DUE TO INJURY
Bolt, who muscled his way into the final with another sluggish run in the semi-final of the men’s 100m, pulled out of the race and the entire Olympic Trials altogether with what is understood to be a hamstring injury.
The six-time Olympic champion and world record holder in both the 100m and 200m has been given a medical exemption, which means he would secure a place in the sprints in Rio if he can prove his fitness.
THE THOMPSON SHOW
In the action on the track, Elaine Thompson flashed to a new personal best, world-leading time and national record-equalling time of 10.70 to win the women’s 100m title and punched her ticket to Rio.
In fact, it was an MVP Track Club top three sweep, as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Christania Williams took second and third place.
Fraser-Pryce overcame a toe injury to clock 10.93 secs for second place with rising star Williams stopping a clock in a new personal best time of 10.96 for third place.
All three athletes are coached by Stephen Francis, who always gets his athletes ready for the big meets.
Veteran sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown was left in the blocks and had to settle for fourth in 11.10.
IT WASN’T ME….
Meanwhile, after a controversial incident at the start of the men’s race, double Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake kept his cool to land the title in the absence of his training partner Bolt.
Nickel Ashmeade finished second in 9.96, while Jevaughn Minzie, who also trains with Blake and Bolt at the Racers Track Club, finished third in a personal best of 10.02, pipping Asafa Powell (10.03) on the line.
Before that, though, Blake was controversially disqualified from the race for a false-start, despite replays showed the person who moved first was Jason Livermore.
In the end, after the entire field came to the defense of Blake, who looked stunned at being shown the red card and refused to leave the track, the officials, following a long delay, came back with yellow card.
In the men’s and women’s 400m hurdles finals, Ristananna Tracey and Annsert Whyte left the stadium as national champions and Olympic qualifiers.
In the absence of world No. 2 Janieve Russell, Tracey impressively secured the women’s 400m hurdles title in 54.75, beating Leah Nugent (55.44) and Kaliese Spencer (55.85).
It could be bye-bye for Spencer, as she would be the one making way for Russell if she returns to full fitness.
On the men’s side, Whyte timed his finishing kick to perfect to race home in 48.66, which is the second-fastest time in the world this year.
World Junior champion Jaheel Hyde lowered his own national junior record with a time of 48.81, with Roxroy Cato getting third in 48.86.
All the big names advanced in the men’s and women’s 400m, with Shericka Jackson, Novlene Williams-Mills, Christine Day and Stephenie-Ann Mcpherson all going through on the women’s side.
National record holder Rusheen McDonald, again looked out of place, but he booked a semi-final spot on the men’s side with a time of 45.99, the second fastest of the heats.
Youngster Christopher Taylor won heat 3 in 46.25, while Peter Matthews produced the fastest time of the round, at 45.77.
Fitzroy Dunkley, Ricardo Chambers and Javon Francis all advance as well.