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All eyes on Bolt as JAA/SVL National Champs get underway

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 6:00 AMAndre Lowe

Sprinting phenomenon Usain Bolt is expected to be putting the first steps towards jumpstarting what has been a rather flat season when he lines up in the second round of the men's 100m at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships at the National Stadium today.

Bolt is one of several titans who are entered to compete at the four-day championships, which will be used to select teams to several senior international meets such as this August's World Championships in Beijing.

The 100m and 200m world record holder already has a spot on the team due to his wild card status as defending world champion in both events, but has expressed his need for more races after struggling to spark during his four individual races to date.

It is not yet clear if the 28-year-old will also be running in the final, should he qualify, with sources close to him noting that the decision will be taken on advice.

With Bolt stuttering and uncertain of even featuring in the final and Yohan Blake just coming back from a lengthy injury setback, Asafa Powell, the fastest Jamaican so far this year with a 9.84 clocking under his belt, will fancy his chances of winning what is shaping up to be a competitive 100m.

Big threats

Defending champion Nickel Ashmeade, along with Nesta Carter, who, besides Powell, is the only Jamaican to have dipped below 10 seconds this season, should present themselves as the biggest threats.

There is no certainty that defending double world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will be competing in the women's 100m, but the event is just as intriguing with hotshot Elaine Thompson, who has three sub-11 seconds times to her name, and defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown expected to line-up in an eagerly anticipated clash.

Veterans Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, along with Schillonie Calvert, have also been busy this season and will be making a push for the top spots.

Today's schedule also sees the running of the 400m hurdles heats for both men and women, even though both will be contingent on the number of entries received - especially for the men, with the possibility of a straight final tomorrow at 8:20 p.m.

With Commonwealth champion and diamond race winner Kaliese Spencer opting to compete in the flat 400m due to her wild card entry, it will take some effort to beat her training partner, Janieve Russell, the silver medal winner from the Commonwealth Games.

Russell has been progressing nicely in the MVP Track Club stable and is heavily favoured to leave the National Stadium tomorrow as the national champion in her pet event, with the likes of Nikita Tracey also likely to finish in the top three.

The women's 400m hurdles heat is set to start at 6:05 p.m.

Roxroy Cato, the defending champion in the men's 400m hurdles, only recently returned to track after a brief injury lay-off and looked decent enough at the New York Grand Prix, where he ran 48.97 - the fastest time by a Jamaican.

Junior athlete Jaheel Hyde is the next best with 49.01, and it will be interesting to see if the youngster will be able to upstage his seniors, with four-time national champion Leford Green and Annsert Whyte also likely to factor.

The heats for the men's 400m hurdles is scheduled for a 6:20 p.m. start.

The men's javelin, which is set for 5:30 p.m. and triple jump (5:35 p.m.) will get the evening session under way.