KINGSTON (Sporting Alert) — The absence of the likes of Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake takes away some of the excitements in the build up of the 2013 Jamaica International Invitational, but the oragnizers have still managed to assemble a host of superstars for the Track and Field meeting on Saturday (May 4).
The meeting is an IAAF World Challenge Event.
I tight hamstring forced Bolt of the meet after he was looking forward to racing in front of the Jamaican fans.
“I am disappointed to miss the Kingston meet as I love running in front of my home crowd in Jamaica,” a very disappointed Bolt said.
“I’m told it is only a Grade 1 strain so hopefully I will be OK soon.”
At the time of Blake’s injury Donald Quarrie said: “It’s unfortunate about Yohan, as we really were looking forward to seeing him, but the men’s 100m will still be strong as well as the entire lineups in the other events.
So with Bolt and Blake, who also has a hamstring problem and Powell, who is being cautious with his groin troubles out of the meet, the spotlight on the men’s side will be on the likes of Tyson Gay and Darvis Patton of USA, Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeed and Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos on the track.
Gay will lineup against a solid 100m field at the national stadium in Kingston and the American record holder says the plan is to test himself before the bigger meets come around.
“My training and my local early season shake-out races have gone pretty good,” Gay was quoted as telling The Jamaica Gleaner.
“Before I line up in Diamond League and USA Championship events, I decided to test myself a little bit.
Warren Weir, who captured the bronze medal in the men’s 200m dash at the London Olympic Games behind Bolt and Blake is also on the list of stars down to feature.
The Jamaican sprinter will tackle Wallace Speamon of USA and countryman Ashmeed in the half-lap event, while an interesting men’s 400m field included Nicholas Maitland, Allodin Fothergill, Edino Steele of Jamaica going up against Luguelin Santos and American Tony McQuay.
The women’s events are also expected to generate fireworks with two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and USA’s Allyson Felix amongst the big guns to face the starters.
Campbell-Brown and Felix are set to battle in the women’s 100m dash.
“It’s always a pleasure and it’s always so much fun and exciting to compete at home so I’m looking forward to entertaining all the fans that are coming out to support us,” Campbell-Brown said.
Felix is looking forward to racing against her arch rival.
“I am happy to be back in Jamaica since 2002 World Junior and I am really looking forward to it,” the American said. We (Campbell-Brown and I) have always had good battles over the years and this time is no different.”
Kelly Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago, Murielle Ahouré of the Ivory Coast and Jamaica’s Carrie Russel will also race in the event.
Great Britain’s 2008 Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu will take on Novlene Williams-Mills and Kaliese Spencer in the women’s 400m dash.
Amongst those competing in the field events are Travis Smikle and Frederick Dacres of Jamaica in the men’s Discus throw, Christian Cantwell and Ryan Whiting in the men’s Shot Put and Aretha Thurmond of USA in the women’s Discus.
Kimberly Wiliams and Trecia Smith of Jamaica face-off with the Americans in the women’s Triple Jump.