Wed | Aug 23, 2017

No stopping Russell

Published:Friday | June 24, 2016 | 6:00 AMRaymond Graham
Spencer ... could finish outside top three.
Russell
Tracey
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The women's 400 metres hurdles is expected to be one of the most competitive events at next weekend's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships.

Janieve Russell has been the top Jamaican in the event this season and will start favourite to win, but the other two top three places are up for grabs.

Russell, a finalist at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing last year, is in the form of her life after topping the world earlier this season with a personal best 53.96 seconds at the Rome Diamond League. She is now is at number two as NCAA Division 1 champion, and last year's World Championships silver medallist, Shamier Little of the United States is now the world leader with 53.51.

Russell has shown tremendous improvement, and she looks set to run much faster in the event based on her winning effort in Rome. She will be hoping to join the likes of Melaine Walker and Deon Hemming as Olympic champions in the event. She is expected to win easily at the Trials as the other Jamaicans have been struggling in the event, with 2014 National champion Kaliese Spencer the next best with 55.02.

INTERESTING BATTLE

It should be a very interesting battle for the next two spots. Spencer has been struggling all season as her hurdling technique has not been great and it will not be a surprise if she fails to finish in the top three. She has been well below her best on the Diamond League circuit and she will be hoping to find her best form on home soil.

Ristananna Tracey, who was hailed as a top prospect following some good times in high school, is yet to fulfil that early promise.

Now at her third club locally (Sprintec) after short stints at MVP and Racers, she appears to be finding some of her old form and has a season's best of 55.31 seconds. She will be seeking her second National title after winning in 2013.

Earlier in the season, G.C. Foster College's Rhonda Whyte, a finalist at the World University Games last year in Gwangju, South Korea, showed a lot of promise but has been hit by injury. Whyte has a season's best 55.65 and will be hoping to get back to her early season form and bag a top-three spot.

The likes of Danielle Dowie and Nikita Tracey, who both have represented Jamaica at the highest level in the past, have been very disappointing all season, and it will take a big effort for either to finish among the top three.

With her confidence now sky high, it should be a walk in the park for Russell in the event and she should win in a personal best.

Top three: 1. Janieve Russell 2. Ristananna Tracy 3. Rhonda Whyte (if fit).