Frater: Men's sprint team is strong
Double Olympic gold medal winner, Michael Frater, says Jamaica's 2016 men's sprint team is a strong one with world record potential. Speaking in Kingston last week, Frater described the team as having a lot of experience. The 2008 Olympic 100 metres finalist also pinpointed former world record holder Asafa Powell as a possible first leg runner on the 4x100 metre team.
As he considered a unit that will include Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, Jevaughn Minzie, Asafa Powell and Kemar Bailey-Cole, Frater was optimistic about their chances as a team at the Olympic Games that begins in Rio de Janeiro today.
"You have a lot of experience there with Usain (Bolt) being back there, Yohan (Blake) on form again, Asafa (Powell) is there, young Minzie, so you have experience there with Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade."
"So I think the team is very strong team," he asserted.
Frater ran the second leg when Jamaica set world records of 37.10, 37.04 and 36.84 seconds at the 2008 Olympics, the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics respectively. He continued his evaluation of the 2016 team, saying, "I'm not sure it's as strong as the teams before but it is a very strong team capable of breaking the world record as well."
According to Frater, the running order of the team will be critical. "If they actually set out the team correctly, I think that they have a good chance of duplicating that," he affirmed. "In my head, if Asafa is healthy and possibly running start leg," he guessed, "that's a huge advantage for them."
"He's actually one of, well maybe the best starter to grace track and field so I think once they get a good start and can run comfortable", Frater proposed, "anything is possible."
He noted that Minzie has earned the right to run by finishing ahead of Powell at the June 30 to July 3 National Championships but said, "I don't know what the technical staff will do, but if it was me, I'd definitely give him a shot in the heats and see what that's like and then move on from there."
Asked what his finals line-up would be, he said, "Asafa to lead off to Yohan to Ashmeade to Usain."
He has his eyes on Canada, which he describes as the dark horse team, noting that the Canadians clocked 38.17 seconds without top sprinter Andre DeGrasse at the London Diamond League meet after arriving just days before.
"DeGrasse wasn't on the team and they actually ran 38.17 so I think they are a very dangerous team," Frater concluded.