'Shelly' pulls out 200m
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce did not show up yesterday, like she said she would, for the women's 200 metres at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships at the National Stadium.
Well-placed sources told The Sunday Gleaner that the World champion was pulled from the event after the effects of the flu worsened, following her 100m win on Friday night.
Fraser-Pryce reportedly went into the 100m final suffering from symptoms of the flu and thought that she would be fine to run the opening round of the 200m, but was later told by her coach that she would not be running after she showed no improvements.
One man who showed up, Omar McLeod, scaled new heights with a joint world lead and personal best, 12.97 seconds, to capture the men's 110-metre hurdles national title.
McLeod's time was the joint 14th-fastest ever and, in the process, he relegated Hansle Parchment to silver. Parchment clocked 13.08, while Andrew Riley captured third in 13.35.
Meanwhile, Elaine Thompson made her long-awaited appearance, posting the fastest time in qualifying for today's women's 200m final, set for 6:25 p.m.
Thompson, the joint fastest Jamaican (along with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) this year, with a 22.37 clocking, is followed into the final by Sherone Simpson, 22.62, who got the better of Veronica Campbell-Brown, 22.75, in her semi-final, with Samantha Henry-Robinson posting 22.95 in winning her semi-final.
Julian Forte took his personal best down to 20.04, winning his men's semi-final ahead of Rasheed Dwyer, 20.25, and Warren Weir, 20.26, with Nickel Ashmeade taking the other semi-final in a time of 20.23.
The women's 800m is hardly an event that takes prime space in Jamaican track and field, but the women's final certainly got the grandstand crowd on its feet with top-two finishers, Natoya Goule, who was winning her third straight national title, and Simoya Campbell, both going under two minutes and achieving the automatic qualification standard for the World Championships.
Goule and Campbell engaged each other from start to finish, with the former holding off the University of Technology student to cross the line in 1:59.63 ahead of Campbell, 1:59.92. Kimarra McDonald was third in 2:02.08.
"I'm really happy for this time because all season I wanted to go below two minutes, so I'm really proud," said Goule.
It's shaping up to be an interesting battle for the men's 400m title, with Rusheen McDonald looking in ominous form, bouncing his way to a 45.52 win in his semi-final, ahead of another contender and former national champion, Javere Bell, 45.56.
Javon Francis, the fastest Jamaican this year with a 44.50 run, also looked good in qualifying, winning his semi-final with a time of 45.22, with Ricardo Chambers, 45.56, following him to the line.
Still, like he did after the heats, it's Edino Steele, who clocked 45.19, who is leading all qualifiers into the final, which faces the starter at 6:10 p.m.
Favourite for the female equivalent, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, ran for about 350m before shutting it down to post 50.90 in her section ahead of Anastacia Le-Roy, 51.79, and Chrisann Gordon, 52.04. Last year's runner-up, Christine Day, is the fastest qualifier heading into today's final (6 p.m.) after winning her semi in 50.38 ahead of Shericka Jackson, 50.65, and Sonikqua Walker, 52.22.
In today's women's 100m hurdles semi-final, set for 5:40 p.m., defending champion Monique Morgan is set to resume her rivalry with last year's second-place finisher, Danielle Williams, with the pair entering the championships with the two fastest times for Jamaicans this year.
Morgan posted a decent 12.89 seconds win in her last race on June 6, and is yet to lose a race this season, even though she would have preferred to have posted more than two sub-13 seconds clocking up to this point.
Williams is coming off a 12.89 third-place finish at the New York Grand Prix, but comes into the contest with a 12.77 season best and four sub-13 second runs in her five races.
The older of the Williams sisters, Shermaine, will be looking to better last year's fourth-place finish.
Commonwealth Games champion and national record holder, O'Dayne Richards, has certainly had an up-and-down season so far, but he did match his best performance of the season in his last effort at the New York Grand Prix with a 21.00m mark. He is widely expected to better the field with Ashinia Miller, the only other thrower to have gone anywhere close to 20m this season (19.84m), also set to compete.