JAMAICA: Sprint Showl

Powell heads a weight of sprint talent in Kingston - PREVIEW
Thursday 4 May 2006
Kingston, Jamaica - World 100m record holder Asafa Powell heads an all-star sprint cast in the Jamaica International Invitational at Kingston Stadium, Jamaica on Saturday (6). The third annual edition of this NACAC Area Permit Meet features many of the world’s best sprinters.

Powell, who ran 9.77 for 100 metres in Athens last year, has been running relatively cautiously this spring, following the injury traumas which followed that World record run. He won the Commonwealth title in a seemingly pedestrian (for him) time of 10.03, then clocked 10.10 in winning the Penn Relays 100m in Philadelphia last weekend. Don’t be deceived by the 10.10, as Powell was beginning to shut down the jets halfway through the race.

Veronica Campbell of Jamaica
(Getty Images)

There’s plenty of competition for Powell, with World Championship silver medallist Michael Frater, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Marc Burns (TRI), and Dwight Thomas, 5th at the World Championships, the leading challengers.

The women’s 100m features Commonwealth Games winner Sheri Ann Brooks, World Championship 200m silver medallist Rachelle Boone-Smith (USA), and such notables as Olympic Games 200m bronze medallist Debbie Ferguson (BAH), Muna Lee (USA), and Peta-Gay Dowdie.

The women’s 200m will have Jamaica’s Olympic champion Veronica Campbell squaring off with American Lauryn Williams, who won World gold in the 100m last year at Helsinki, a race in which the Jamaican was runner-up.

Lauryn Williams at the Penn Relays
(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Oft-injured Usain Bolt heads the men’s 200m field, and will be challenged among others by Commonwealth gold medallist Omar Brown, American Tyson Gay, who was fourth at the World Championships, Commonwealth third-placer Chris Williams, and Marc Burns (TRI), a World 100m finalist in 2005. Last weekend, Bolt showed he’s back in the groove, clocking 20.08 in Martinique.

Another big race is the men’s 400m Hurdles, where Olympic champion Felix Sanchez (DOM) goes against Olympic silver medallist Danny McFarlane, and World Championship fourth placer American Kerron Clement, who ran a personal best of 47.24, the fastest time in the world last year.

The flat 400’s are also interesting, with World Championship silver medallist Sanya Richards heading the field. There’s no shortage of challengers, with Commonwealth bronze medallist Novlene Willaims, World finalist Monique Henderson (USA), Christine Amertil (BAH), and Jamaicans Lorraine Fenton, 2000 Olympic and 2001 World silver medallist, and Sherika Williams in the field.

Usain Bolt wins the 200m at the 2005 Jamaica International
(Errol Anderson (The Sporting Image))

Defending Jamaica International 400m champion LaShawn Merritt (USA) will try to hold off two Commonwealth Games medallists – runner-up Alleyne Francique (GRN), the double World Indoor champion, and third placer Germaine Gonzales. An equally strong challenge will be posed by Andrew Rock (USA), the World silver medallist in Helsinki last summer, and Olympic finalist Davian Clarke.

The women’s 100m Hurdles field is strong, with the first four Commonwealth Games finishers in the field. Brigitte Foster-Hilton goes against Angela White (CAN), the runner-up, third-placer Deloreen Ennis-London, and Lacena Golding-Clarke. London and Hilton are respectively the reigning World silver and bronze medallists.

Two of the world’s best at the women’s 800m, Kenia Sinclair and Hazel Clark (USA) will do battle, and in the Triple Jump, World Champion Trecia Smith, World Indoor third placer Yamile Aldama (SUD), and Candace Baucham (USA) are the major names.

Sanya Richards of the USA
(Getty Images)

Leading off the evening’s programme are high school events. Jamaican high-schoolers had another big outing at last weekend’s Penn Relays. They’ll get the crowd ready for the main events.

George Kochman for