Spencer headlines J'cans at Birmingham meet
JAMAICANS ARE represented across five events at the Diamond League in Birmingham today, which will officially mark two months until the start of the Olympic Games in Rio.
As athletes home in on their optimum condition by pitting themselves against the world's best track and field talent, the Diamond League event in the English Midlands represents another opportunity for up-and-coming Jamaican stars, as well as established names, to tick another box in readiness for sports, ultimate summer showcase.
Seasoned campaigner Kaliese Spencer will compete in the 400m hurdles, and although her form this year has been way off her personal best of 52.79 seconds, the Westmoreland-born athlete will be hoping to put down a positive marker moving forward.
Away from the hurdles, Christine Day goes up against Britain's own Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m in what promises to be a compelling duel. Ohuruogu trains in Jamaica during the British winter and will be well aware of Day, who has run a season's best of 51.09.
Damar Forbes goes in the long jump and is the only Jamaican man at this year's Birmingham Diamond League. The 25-year-old has his work cut out, though, as he will do battle with triple jump Olympic gold medallist Christian Taylor and Britain's 2012 champion Greg Rutherford. Forbes will relish the chance to challenge the likes of Rutherford and Taylor, who have both registered very impressive performances in the Diamond League series this season.
Simone Facey is the third fastest Jamaican woman over 100m in the world this year, running 11.00 in Florida in April. She will be up against a strong British contingent of Dina Asher-Smith, Ashleigh Nelson, Desiree Henry and Asha Philip, who all have victory in their sights. Two rounds of racing, heats and final, should offer the perfect environment for the Manchester-born Facey to make a pointed impact on a genuine world-class field.
Also making an impact following their third and fourth-placed finishes at the Rome Diamond League meeting will be triple jumpers Shanieka Thomas and Kimberly Williams. Thomas, 24, jumped a personal best of 14.57m in Kingston earlier this year and will be hoping to build on that, while Williams, 25, is expected to produce a performance equal to or better than her season's best of 14.38m.
The meet starts at 8 a.m. (Jamaica time).