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Bolt, SFP head Jamaica's biggest ever World Champs team

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2015 | 8:00 AMAndre Lowe
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Fifteen individual and relay World Cham-pionships medallists

have been included as the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) yesterday named the island's largest team ever assembled for an IAAF World Championships ahead of the August 22-30 event in Beijing, China.

A total of 53 athletes (27 male, 26 female) - many of whom are already in Tottori, Japan, for the team's pre-championships camp - have been handed tickets to Beijing, bettering the 51 selected to represent the country at the 2011 Daegu showcase.

JAAA president, Dr Warren Blake, highlighted the team's diversity as all four individual medallists from the last edition of the championships - led by triple gold-medal winners Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, along with Nesta Carter and Warren Weir - return to lead the Jamaican effort.

"We are taking the biggest team we have ever taken to the World Championships, and also the most diverse team," Blake told The Gleaner. "This is something we are quite happy about, and something we have been encouraging over the years."

Three male discus throwers (Jason Morgan, Federick Dacres and Chad Wright), two female 800m competitors (Natoya Goule and Simoya Campbell), a female (Danniel Thomas) and a male (O'Dayne Richards) shot put athletes, a male 5000 competitor (Kemoy Campbell) and a female steeplechase runner (Aisha Praught) give the country its widest range of competitors at the World Championships.

Salcia Slack's naming as the country's representative in the heptathlon also drives home the point.

insipid start

However, all eyes will be on Bolt, who after an insipid start to his season, seemed to have regained some form ahead of his Beijing assignment, twice clocking 9.87 seconds in less than an hour at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in London a few weeks ago.

Bolt will return to the site of his double world record exploits at the 2008 Olympic Games, but will perhaps face his biggest test with world leader and 100m silver medallist in Moscow, Justin Gatlin, setting the pace this season.

Fraser-Pryce also won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the last World Championships in Moscow in 2013, but is only expected to mount a defence of her 100m world title in Beijing.

Her young MVP stable-mate, Elaine Thompson, the national champion, has been handed the reigns in the 200m, where stalwart Veronica Campbell-Brown will also feature, in addition to the 100m.

Kaliese Spencer has been missing from the circuit for the past month with a leg injury, but she is expected to be back at her best.

Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Christine Day are listed for the women's 400m.

Asafa Powell will be looking to add to his two World Championships bronze medals in the 100m, with Kemar Bailey-Cole seeking an upgrade to his Commonwealth gold, while 2013 silver-medal winner, Warren Weir, will be hoping to find form in the 200m.

Sub-45 second pair Javon Francis, the national 400m champion, and Rusheen McDonald, both lead the quarter-mile charge on the men's side with Omar McLeod, who clocked a quick 12.97 at the national trials, and national record holder, Hansle Parchment, primed to do well in the 110m hurdles.

The Jamaicans ended the 2013 World Championships with nine medals (six gold, two silver and one bronze), the same as their 2011 return, with 2009's 13 medals being the country's largest-ever haul at the World Championships.

SQUAD

Men: Nickel Ashmeade, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt, Julian Forte, Warren Weir, Peter Matthews, Rusheen McDonald, Edino Steele, Javon Francis, Kemoy Campbell, Omar McLeod, Hansle Parchment, Roxroy Cato, Leford Green, Annsert Whyte, Damar Forbes, O'Dayne Richards, Fedrick Dacres, Jason Morgan, Chad Wright, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Jonia McDonald, Dane Hyatt, Nesta Carter, Andrew Riley.

Women: Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson, Sherone Simpson, Christine Day, Shericka Jackson, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills, Simoya Campbell, Natoya Goule, Aisha Praught, Kimberly Laing, Danielle Williams, Shermaine Williams, Janieve Russell, Kaliese Spencer, Shevon Stoddart, Ristananna Tracey, Shanieka Thomas, Kimberly Williams, Danniel Thomas, Salcia Slack, Kerron Stewart, Chrisann Gordon, Anastasia LeRoy.

Officials: Team leader - Ludlow Watts; assistant - Dave Myrie; assistant - Heleen Francis; technical leader - Maurice Wilson; head coach - Michael Clarke.