Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Grand Prix magic expected inside National Stadium

Published:Saturday | June 11, 2016 | 6:00 AMRaymond Graham

ALL is set for today's first staging of the Jamaica National Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium starting at 7 p.m.

Most of the world's top athletes, including the world's fastest man Usain Bolt - the triple Olympic gold medallist - will be in attendance, with a high-profile cast of international and local stars eager to cross swords in front of what is shaping up to be a big crowd.

Dave Myrie, a member of the Organising Committee and a director of the Racers Track Club, is reporting that it's 'all systems go' for the much-anticipated meet.

Myrie noted "Everything is in place for today's event. A lot of planning and a lot of work was put in and we expect a spectacle, a great show!"

Despite the late withdrawal of world leader in the women's 100m, American Torie Bowie and her countrywoman Natasha Hasting in the 400m, this will certainly not take anything away from the event given the quality of athletes present.

From a local standpoint the final two events, the women's (9:20 p.m.) and men's 100m (9:30 p.m.) will undoubtedly attract a lot of attention.

In the women's event, all eyes will be on the reigning Olympic and World Championship 100m champion and local favourite Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will be competing in her second 100m this season. Plagued by a toe injury, which has affected her training, Fraser-Pryce finished at the back of the field at the Prefontaine Classic, and today's event will definitely be a test to see where she is.

She will battle the United States' Carmelita Jeter, who herself has not been having a wonderful season so far, leaving the likes of Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste to possibly steal the show here.

Christine Day, who was second in the 400m at the Birmingham Diamond League a week ago, will lead the charge in this event, where she will be challenged by the likes of Anastasia Le-Roy and veteran Shericka Williams.

The Bahamas' Shaunae Miller is expected to stay perfect at the National Stadium when she competes in the women's 200m at 8:35 p.m.

Fans will get a preview of the National Senior Championships' 100m clash as the country's best will do battle here, led by Bolt, who will be making his first appearance on local soil in the event since 2013.

After his 9.95 seconds done several weeks ago at the National Stadium, Yohan Blake is the fastest in the event here, with Bolt (9.98), Kemar Bailey-Cole and Asafa Powell (10.01) as well as Nickel Ashmeade (10.03) all expected to thrill.

Another exciting event among the males will be the special 300m clash at 7:55 p.m., with two of the top quarter-milers in the world in South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk and LaShawn Merritt of the United States squaring off, with the fast-starting Isaac Makwala of Botswana also looking to feature prominently.