KINGSTON, Jamaica (Sporting Alert) — The super stars are gearing up for tonight’s Jamaica International Invitational Meet at the National Stadium and the expectations are high for them as well.
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A lot of focus will be on the sprint events as usual with likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Bershawn Jackson, Nesta Carter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sanya Richards-Ross, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Melaine Walker, Carmelita Jeter, and Brittney Reese – all set to be in action.
Of course, most of the attention will be on Bolt, who will line up in the men’s 100m – an event he holds the world record at 9.58 seconds and meeting record at 9.76secs.
There, however, will not be Bolt v Asafa Powell clash as the former world record has pulled out of t he meeting because of an injury. Powell was scheduled to race in the 200m against Yohan Blake, but there were suggestions that he would switch over to run the 100m against Bolt because of a groin problem.
However, it has now been confirmed that he would not be risk with the Olympic Games just around the corner.
“The groin is too tight for a hard 200m race and so he decided not to run,” Powell’s agent Paul Doyle said.
Bolt in the meantime is looking forward to running his first open 100m after delaying his season debut earlier this year.
He did race on the anchor leg of the Racers Track Club 4×100 team, which clocked 37.82 seconds at the UTech Classic.
“I felt all right, comfortable, smooth, not as smooth as I would normally feel, but I have a few months to get ready and a lot more running to go, so I look forward to getting better,” Bolt said after racing.
Bolt’s main challenge is expected to come from Nesta Carter, who was a member of the Jamaican world record setting teams from Beijing and Daegu, and a sprinter who has a life time best of 9.78sec.
Also entered are Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic Games silver medallist Richard Thompson, Antiguan Daniel Bailey, a training partner of Bolt under Glen Mills, Michael Frater and Lerone Clarke, who was very impressive during the indoor season.
Yohan Blake will race in the men’s 200m, as his coach Mills does not want to pair him up against Bolt as yet.
And with Powell out Blake is expected to receive challenges from teammate Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir and Lansford Spence, as well as Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure.
Elsewhere on the men’s side, Jermaine Gonzales will lead the 400m field, which also includes Renny Quow of Trinidad and Tobago, while American Bershawn Jackson will lead a solid men’s 400m hurdles field that also has the likes of Danny McFarlane, Micheal Tinsley and Leford Green facing the starter.
On the women’s side, Jeter will lead a strong field which also includes Olympic silver medallists Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, veteran Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie from the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste.
Olympic 100m champion Fraser-Pryce will move up to the 200m and is set to take on Bianca Knight, Sheniqua Ferguson and Shalonda Solomon.
World leader Richards-Ross races in the 400m against a very strong line-up that has Christine Ohuruogu, Rosemarie Whyte and Novlene Williams-Mills also looking for the crown, while Olympic champion Walker take on teammates Nickiesha Wilson, Ristananna Tracey and Shevon Stoddart in the women’s 400m hurdles.
In other events, Reese will start favourite to win the long jump, while Foster-Hylton take on Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Tiffany Porter in the 100m hurdles.