Mon | Sep 25, 2017

100m Drama - Bolt withdraws with injury, Blake, Thompson thrill at Olympic trials

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2016 | 7:35 AMAndre Lowe
Elaine Thompson (centre) powers to a win in the women's 100m at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships in 10.70 seconds. Christania Williams (right) finished second with Simone Facey coming fifth.

The athletics world is holding its breath as sprint king Usain Bolt was forced to withdraw from the Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships after complaining about pain in his hamstring.

He will now have to prove his fitness before the JAAA names its team to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with his appearance at the London Diamond League meet, where he is scheduled to run a 200m on July 22.

Bolt, who reportedly first felt the discomfort on his way to winning his 100m heat on Thursday night, complained after that event, that his pre-race preparations were seriously affected because the officials brought him out too early ahead of his race, leaving him to stand around for close to 30 minutes.

The JAAA’s selection policy outlines:

“Athletes who are ranked/listed in the top three in the world for their event who are ill or injured at the time of the National Championships and are granted an exemption from competing at the Championships may still be considered for selection provided that they are able to prove their world ranking form prior to the final submission of the entries for the competition.”

“Subject to the proviso below, athletes placing in the 1st' to 3rd positions in all events will be selected if they have attained the qualifying standard for the event provided however that in any event where any athlete has been granted an exemption from competing in that event at the National Championships under criteria (7) below the athlete so exempted may be considered for selection as an entrant for the event in the competition.”

“Where an athlete has been granted an exemption and the Selection Committee has determined that such an athlete should be selected among the entrants for the event that athlete shall be selected above the athlete placing third at the National Championships or in place of an athlete finishing in either of the first two places of the event where that athlete has been determined by a medical panel appointed by the JAAA to be ill or injured and not being in a satisfactory physical condition to warrant being entered to compete.”

So on to the finals then.

Controversial false start

In Bolt’s absence, Yohan Blake claimed his second national title in the 100m with a 9.95 win ahead of Nickel Ashmeade, 9.96 with Jevaughn Minzie, 10.02 finishing third. Asafa Powell was fourth in 10.03 but the race wasn’t completed without controversy after Blake was seemingly mistakenly shown a red card for a false start even though replays clearly showed that it was Jason Livermore who moved before the gun. That decision was later changed.

Minzie, the former Bog Walk star athlete will, however, have an asterisk beside his name with Bolt’s condition yet to be determined.

Elaine Thompson matched the national record and set a new personal best in the women’s 100m, powering to a 10.70 finishing ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce 10.93 and Christania Williams, 10.97 (PB), in a sweep for the MVP Track Club.

Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth in 11.10 with Simone Facey finishing fifth in 11.11 and Sashalee Forbes, 11.17 taking sixth place.

Only three women have gone faster than Thompson – Florence Griffith Joyner, Carmelita Jeter and Marion Jones. Fraser-Pryce has also gone 10.70.

One of the hottest athletes on the planet Omar McLeod, the reigning national champion and fastest man in the world in the 110m hurdles, will take his first strides towards his first appearance at the Olympic Games today.

McLeod is the only athlete to go below 13 seconds so far this year, with his 12.98 seconds win at the Shanghai Diamond League meet teasing his 12.97 personal best, and the former Manchester High and Kingston College standout is also responsible for the four fastest times in the event in 2016.