Wed | May 24, 2017

200 metres in spotlight

Published:Saturday | June 27, 2015 | 6:00 AMAndre Lowe
Kaliese Spencer capturing her women's 400m heat in 52.85 seconds.
Thompson ... bows into action in women's 200 metres today.
Javere Bell (centre) taking his men's 400m heat in 46.45 seconds.
Favourite Javon Francis (right) wins his heat of the men's 400 metres at yesterday's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association National Championships at the National Stadium. Francis clocked 46.51 seconds.
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The decision by the MVP Track Club hierarchy to run Elaine Thompson only in the 200 metres despite her excellent 100m showing this season may have been a controversial one, but the fast-rising Jamaican sprinter is primed to impress as the opening rounds

of the men's and women's

200m highlight today's penultimate day of competition at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships inside the National Stadium.

Fans have been salivating for a 100m clash between Thompson, the second fastest Jamaican this year with a 10.84 clocking and her more celebrated stablemate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce the world and Olympic champion and current world leader (10.81), who is only competing in the 100m at these championships.

News that Thompson had not been entered in the 100m despite her three sub-11 times this season was met with disappointment with members of the public, but The Gleaner understands that the University of Technology student was always being primed to compete in the 200m at the World Championships, where her handlers are convinced that she stands her best chance to medal.

personal best

In her four locally contested 200m races this season, Thompson is yet to follow anybody to the line with a season and personal-best time of 22.37 - the joint 11th fastest time in the world so far this year.

In the double Diamond race sprint champion and two-time Olympic champion in the event, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Thompson will face her toughest competitive test in the half lap event.

Campbell-Brown has won this event at the National Championships on six occasions but last did so in 2011 - more than enough motivation for the veteran athlete.

Also expected to feature prominently in the 200m semis, which get underway at 7:45pm are Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, who have both been busy this season.

The men's 200m should be equally exciting with defending champion Rasheed Dwyer looking to shake off what has been an uncertain start to his season with Olympic and world Championships medallist Warren Weir, who has also struggled for form this season, Nickel Ashmeade and Julian Forte stepping on the track in the heats that get going at 9 a.m.

In yesterday's action, all the major players are safely through to today's men's and women's 400m semi-finals.

Christine Day is the fastest qualifier heading into today's women's 400m semi-finals

after winning her heat in

50.86. Favourite Stephenie-Ann McPherson, 51.79 and 400m hurdles specialist Kaliese Spencer, 52.85 who is hoping to qualify for Jamaica's 4x400m relay team with a top six finish in the final are also through.

Shericka Jackson, 51.01 was second to Day in her heat and seems ready to test the apple cart.

Javon Francis, the sixth fastest Jamaican this year with a time of 44.50 and Rusheen McDonald, who sits at number 10 on the list with a 44.60 clocking of his own were both easy in booking their spots to the next round.

comfortable

McDonald clocked 46.48 to win his heat with Francis posting 46.51. Javere Bell is also through after winning his heat in 46.45 with Dane Hyatt, 46.52 and Edino Steele, 46.23 also comfortable in qualifying.

Only six hurdlers have gone faster than ever-improving Jamaican 100m hurdles standout Omar McLeod this year, but with his event set to close today's action there's a real sense of expectation around the youngster.

McLeod, who announced that he was going pro is yet to lose a race this season - indoor or outdoors - and with a 13.21 seconds time to his name already, many will be looking to see if the youngster can threaten Hansle Parchment's 12.94 national record. Parchment has not competed since the middle of May with Andrew Riley, the Common-wealth Games champion seeming the most likely threat to McLeod's ambitions.

Danniel Thomas won the women's discus with a mark of 57.34m ahead of Tara-Sue Barnett, 56.56m and Kellion Knibb, 54.71m.