Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Forte would be disappointed to lose place to Bolt

Published:Saturday | July 16, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Forte

Having competed at the Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA)-Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships used to select the country's team to next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, Julian Forte could end up being a tourist despite having finished third in the men's 200m.

This is because the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, was among four athletes who were granted medical exemptions from competing, either due to injuries sustained before or during the championships.

According to the JAAA's selection policy, with Bolt being ranked in the top three in the world for both the 100m and 200m at the time of the trials and having been granted a medical exemption from competing, all he needs to do is to prove his fitness before the final decision is made during technical meetings on August 10 on the athletes for each event.

Bolt, who suffered a hamstring injury during the semi-finals of the 100m and had to end his participation in the trials, is scheduled to run the 200m at the London Diamond League on July 22 in what will essentially be a fitness test for him.

Forte, who finished third at the trials is listed among four names submitted by the JAAA, but he is not guaranteed the opportunity to compete in an individual race as only a maximum of three athletes can represent a country in any one event.

If Bolt proves his fitness, as he is expected to do in London, he will join Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade as Jamaica's representatives in both the 100m and 200m, with Forte and 20-year-old Jevaughn Minzie, who placed third in the 100m at trials, having to give way.

"I trained 11 hard months to make the team, so my ultimate goal is to make the team and compete in an individual event at the Olympics, so it will definitely be disappointing if I don't get to go, but we will see," Forte told The Gleaner.

GIVING HIS ALL

"I love doing what I do. I will go out there and give it my all every single time. I am just waiting on them (JAAA) to see how it goes, but I will always give my all for my country."

Forte, however, acknowledged that Bolt, who is looking to win a third straight Olympic gold medal trifecta this summer, does deserve his respect.

"At the end of the day, you are talking about Usain Bolt," Forte said. "Anybody who has one of the three fastest times in the world for the year and is such an integral part and has been such an integral part of our team for years; I think anybody who is in that position would be deserving."

The other athletes who were granted medical exemptions at the nationals trials were Elaine Thompson, who, after winning the 100m in a national record equalling 10.70, did not show for the 200m final, while 400m hurdler Janieve Russell and 110m hurdler Hansel Parchment sustained injuries prior to the championships.

"It is not only Usain who has used the medical exemption. Many other people have used it in the past, so it has benefits," Forte reasoned.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com