Foster's Fairplay: Mind boggling JII results
The Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet this past weekend churned out some mind boggling results.
This being the year of the Rio Olympics, greater significance is inevitably placed on what athletes bring to the table in early outings.
Foster's Fairplay was stunned by the 100m mark of 10.71 rolled out by MVP girl Elaine Thompson. It was aided by a +2.4 metre per second (mps) wind, marginally over the legally accepted limit of 2.0.
However, although it will not have record keepers reaching for their books, it cannot be underestimated as another milestone in the rise to world prominence of this pint-sized gift to the sport from the district of Banana Ground in hilly Manchester.
As former Olympic and World Champion, Linford Christie, once told this columnist, "wind or no wind, it proves the time is in your legs".
Another JII event that attracted the attention of this columnist in a poignant way was the women's 100m hurdles.
Reigning world champion, Danielle Williams, took that title at a time when the high-riding Americans had faltered, suffering mishaps at one stage or another.
There was a claim that the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year runner-up's performance was diluted because of the missteps by the USA girls. They included defending champion Jasmine Stowers, who pulled out of Saturday night's proceedings at the last minute, 2015 USA champion Brianna Rollins, Sharika Nelvis and Queen Harrison, all Beijing World Championship finalists and the cream of the USA's crop.
What Danielle showed on the night in a close, wind assisted race, is interesting. None of those named, including the always effervescent Jamaican miss, had competed in more than two finals this year. They were all in the infant stages of the 2016 season, but the revelation was clear. They can dance together at the same party.
Also worthy of mention - in the context of exciting prospects for this summer's action - is Kemar Bailey-Cole's 10.01 clocking to win the men's 100m.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion left Beijing injured last year. His only appearance since was a 200m on local soil in April. With this 2016 best, he has factored in himself to make that sprint trio for Rio.
Over in Doha, Qatar, the previous day (Friday), there was another eye-catching run by sprint hurdler out of the prestigious University of Arkansas program, Omar "Mr. Silk" McLeod. He sounded the trumpet of his presence, also in Beijing last year.
Slamming hurdles repeatedly, he muscled into the final, where in the same rhythm-challenging style he placed a more than creditable sixth.
Now a professional athlete under the guidance of IAAF athletes representative, the very selective and overall quality-conscious, Claude Bryan, he created what the organising team called the 'Performance of the Meet'.
It was a world leading 13.05 seconds, legally crafted and throwing down the gauntlet to the most lettered of his rivals. Several of them trailed him in Doha, notably countryman Hansle Parchment (Beijing silver medallist) and the USA's power men - Aries Merritt (world record holder) and David Oliver (2013 World champion).
Foster's Fairplay, with all these top end performances in mind, calls on the experience and lessons learnt covering this sport. Medals are won on the day. Even before that, there is a hurdle to be tackled called Trials, where no quarter is given.
The stern test of strength, endurance and character is almost seven weeks away. The order of the four-day championships is one-two-three for selection in individual events and top six in relays.
There are no wild cards to allow any athlete, unfettered passage to the most appropriately named 'Greatest Show on Earth'.
The Diamond League has seen only one event on its four-month long calendar. The action, yet unfolded, will produce a plethora of oooohs and aaahs, spills and thrills, as is the tradition. Apart from those who competed on the Indoor circuit, other countries' elite are not yet in full fitness or shape.
It is a logistical impossibility for them all to make it. For those who do, Foster's Fairplay wishes for them all the very best as they huddle under the black, gold and green.
Until then, there is every confidence that the city of the samba will have a lot of time for the beat of Reggae.
Onward Jamaica, the spirits of your athletic ancestors are watching.
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