Shelly eyes fast 200m
World 200m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she will be looking to do better than she did the last time she ran a 200m at the Jamaica International Invitational, as she continues her fine-tuning at today's Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome.
Fraser-Pryce, who has a personal best of 22.09 in the event, clocked 22.37 while finishing third at the Jamaica International Invitational last month and will fancy her chances against a field that includes compatriots Kerron Stewart, Sherone Simpson and Simone Facey, as well as American Jeneba Tarmoh and Great Britain's Bianca Williams.
"I first of all want to run faster than I did in my last 200m race, which I ran in Jamaica. I ran 22.3 there and, hopefully, I will be able to go out there and execute a good race and run faster than that," Fraser-Pryce told journalists at the ATA Hotel Villa Pamphili on the outskirts of Rome.
Nine more Jamaicans are scheduled to line up in the Italian capital, with two of these - Janieve Russell and Andrew Fisher - set to feature for the first time at a Diamond League meet.
Russell, the Commonwealth Games silver medal winner, was bubbling ahead of her 400m hurdles competition, where she will meet the woman she beat to the number-two spot on the Glasgow 2014 podium, Great Britain's Eilidh Child - the European champion, with Lashinda Demus, who medalled at the last three global events, and Olympic finalist Georganne Moline expected to take the initiative here.
Fisher, the Intercol champion, will get his baptism in a 100m that is highlighted by a man on top of his game, Justin Gatlin, who will be seeking a third consecutive win here. Nesta Carter should lead the Jamaican challenge, with veteran Kim Collins still keeping pace and Mike Rodgers looking to show that he will be a real threat ahead of the US trials.
"All the pressure is on everybody else. I am not getting caught up in anything, I am just looking to go there, listen to my coach's instructions and post a fast time," said Fisher, who is targeting a sub-10 seconds time.
Julian Forte, Daniel Bailey (Antigua) and Kemar Hyman (Cayman) are the most notable names in the 100m 'B' race.
Push for top spot
Andrew Riley, the reigning Commonwealth champion, has not finished in the top three in the 110m hurdles since April and is coming off a disappointing sixth-place finish in Eugene. With most of the big names in this event opting to skip Rome, this represents a good chance for the Jamaican to make a push for the top spot. He will, however, need to keep his eye on Russian Sergey Shubenkov as well as American Jeff Porter and Frenchman Garfield Darien.
Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Christine Day will all line up in the women's 400m, where powerful American Francena McCorory is expected to continue her impressive start to the season, which sees her winning two of her three races, so far, with Natasha Hastings also looking to finish at the front of the field.
In the men's shot put, O'Dayne Richards is due a good performance after disappointing showings at the Doha and Eugene stops. He will again face a top field that includes David Storl and Ryan Whiting.
Shot Put Men
10:55am: O'Dayne Richards
Men's 100m 'B'
12:40pm: Julian Forte
1:14pm: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart, Sherone Simpson, Simone Facey
2:08pm: Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Miss, Christine Day
Men's 100m 'A'
2:28pm: Nesta Carter, Andrew Fisher
Men's 110m Hurdles
3:03pm: Andrew Riley
Women's 400m hurdles
3:20pm: Janieve Russell