Speed on a platter at National Championships
Speed on a platter
THE TRIALS to the IAAF World Championships - the JAAA National Senior Championships - gets out of the blocks today and runs through to Sunday.
This episode will see the likes of current world record holder of the traditional sprint events, Usain Bolt, opting to go up against Asafa Powell. The 'big man' will seek to sharpen his race skills against sharper athletes, led by the man whose 100m record he broke way back in 2008.
But the racers for the title of the fastest Jamaican this year will not be limited to former world record holders. The fast-starting Nesta Carter is among the usual suspects, which includes former world champion Yohan Blake, current Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole and the resilient Jason Livermore, who will be seeking to cement a claim on a spot to the oriental land.
Expect collegiates Julian Forte and Senoi-Jay Givans to pressure the selectors, as both have been impressive this season, but might be affected by fatigue syndrome, which affects athletes who generally have a long season and are saddled with academic responsibilities.
The world's fastest man is on a quest for quality and will only compete in the 100 metres, which sees 55 other hopefuls.
In the men's 200 metres, there are 53 competitors seeking a spot to the land of Qing Dynasty, which also includes Carter, Livermore and Blake. Here, Warren Weir remains a specialist, vying to dethrone national champion Rasheed Ray Dwyer.
Jamaica's dominance in the world of men's sprinting since 2008 is primarily attributable to a man who, before now, was without equal. Bolt's supremacy could be in transition. Many pundits of the sport believe that Jamaica faces its most formidable threat from the Americans in close to a decade. It is felt that former world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin is a man on a mission, and this mission may be detrimental to Bolt's legendary status.
The current form books suggest that it will take a 9.65 or better return in August to defeat Gatlin, but Bolt has not signalled that he will not give it a shot. So, as the plot thickens, spectators are snatching tickets to get a glimpse of the reigning World champion, to see if he is ready to explode, or retreating to relinquish his title in 2015.
So even as both countries simultaneously run off national championships to select representatives to Beijing, China, the world has one eye on Bolt, and the other glaring at a gritty Gatlin, the resurgent Powell and a determined Tyson Gay, to see what statistics are served up on the speed platters of men's world sprinting this weekend.