Wed | Aug 23, 2017

MVP boss reports on Russell, Thompson; criticises JAAA deadline

Published:Tuesday | August 2, 2016 | 8:08 PM
400m Hurdler Jeneive Russell trains in Brazil.

Andre Lowe, Special Projects Editor - Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
MVP Track club boss Stephen Francis says his young charges Elaine Thompson and Janieve Russell have both recovered well after being forced to request medical exemptions from the National Senior Championships, but criticised the August 8 deadline established by the JAAA to prove their fitness. 

Thompson had to skip the 200m final after earlier winning the 100m event due to an aggravated hamstring injury, while Russell could not compete in the 400m hurdles at the trials at all, after injuring herself days before the event.

Neither has competed since and the JAAA, which has included them in the squad for their respective events alongside the three top finishers at the trials, stipulates that athletes who received exemptions will have to prove their fitness before they can be named to the final three selected to compete in their event.

Sprint hurdler Hansle Parchment had also received a medical exemption.

Team leader Ludlow Watts told The Gleaner recently that a series of physical tests and on-track assessment will be conducted by their panel of medical and technical personnel on the pair to determine if they should be allowed to compete instead of the third placed finishers at trials – in these cases Kali Davis-White in the 200m and Kaliese Spencer in the 400m hurdles.

These he said will have to be carried out before August 8 at 11 a.m., when they will make their final submissions.

Francis says he has no issue making his athletes available for the medical tests, but warned that it will not be allowed to interrupt his programme, while arguing that the JAAA’s approach is counter-productive.

“They tell me it’s an ultra-sound so that is no problem,” Francis said. “Plus the training track is public, but in terms of doing anything with the athlete, which is not on their schedule, we are not going to allow it”.

“There is no reason for that (August 8 deadline) because they have until the day before the event to declare, they can wait. If the hurdles start on the 15th, they can wait until the 14th, so there is no good reason for that except to set up bureaucratic guidelines to satisfy themselves,” Francis added.

“She (Russell) is more than a second faster than anyone else in Jamaica, she is unbeaten all year. She has run four races and PB-ed four times, so I don’t understand the need to rush the issue especially when the people who you are talking about are not, on current form, in their league,” Francis further stated.

Russell has the fourth fastest time in the world this year – 53.96. Spencer’s best time this year is 55.02.

The other qualifiers for the women’s 400m hurdles are Ristananna Tracey and Leah Nugent.

The women’s 200m was won by Simone Facey with Veronica Campbell-Brown finishing second.