Thompson, Russell in good shape
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
Janieve Russell and Elaine Thompson seemed to have shaken off the injuries that affected their participation at last month's Jamaica Olympic trials, after blazing through their first training session on Brazilian soil yesterday morning, following their arrival here on Monday night.
Russell, the leading Jamaican 400m hurdler this season, did not show up at all at the trials after hurting herself a few days earlier, while national 100m champion, Thompson, had to pull out of the 200m final after aggravating a bothersome hamstring.
Both were granted medical exemptions by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), with the expectation that they would prove their fitness by August 8 at 11 a.m. before they can be confirmed to compete in their respective events.
Russell, who is unbeaten this year and who lowered her personal best to 53.96 on her way to winning the Rome Diamond League in the fourth fastest time in the event this year, seemed comfortable as she went through her program at the team's training base at Centro de Educacao Fisica Almirante Adalberto Nunes (CEFAN).
"She is ok," said her coach, Stephen Francis, when asked about her condition. "An assessment as to whether or not she can run to the level I want her to will be made, but right now she appears to be certainly a lot better than she was just before trials.
"The only uncertainty I would probably have is because for her - an athlete I expected this year and certainly over the next five or six years to be one of the premier athletes in the world, I don't think it's fair for her to be competing when she isn't close to her full best, therefore we have to make that decision down the road," Francis added.
It was thought that the athlete would have competed at the June 22-23 London Diamond League and prove that she had recovered from her problems there, but Francis said the hurdler was never scheduled to compete there.
STRONG IN TRAINING
"She was never going to compete at the Diamond League, I don't know where that expectation came from. But if you have an athlete who is injured two weeks or so before the trials I don't see why as her coach I would want to risk her to prove a point one month before her event at the Olympics," said Francis, who underlined that athletes can be declared up to 24 hours before their event.
Thompson, the 200m World Cham-ionships silver medal winner and the fastest woman in the 100m this season, was also strong in training.
"She damaged her hamstring from before the trials, she was cautious and she managed to get through the 100m with it. It then began to feel worse and we decided that the 200m was not that important at that point in time; if she was selected to run then she would, if she is in good shape and not hurting and if not then she would just run the 100m," Francis explained.
Both athletes are to undergo an ultrasound by the JAAA medical panel, with the coaching staff here also expected to observe the pair to determine their physical readiness to
compete at their usual levels.