Sun | Aug 20, 2017

#RioGoldRush: Bolt among seven J’cans in early action - morning session preview

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 8:22 AM
Usain Bolt competes in men's 100m in Rio.

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

Usain Bolt will begin his quest for yet another sprint double when he leads six other Jamaicans into action on today’s morning session of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Bolt having two days ago copped an historic third consecutive 100m Olympic title will take his first stride towards adding the 200m crown, as he has done on the two previous occasions, when the heats of the half lap event gets underway at 9:50 a.m.

The double world record holder in the sprints will face the starters in the ninth and penultimate heat where he will run out of lane five.

Bolt’s training partner, Yohan Blake, who finished fourth in the 100m final will run out of lane six in heat one. Blake, runner-up to Bolt in the 2012 Olympic final, will be up against former National Collegiate Athletic Association champion, Ameer Webb of the United States.

Jamaica’s other representative in the men’s 200m, Nickel Ashmeade, will look to put the disappointment of not making the 100m final behind him when he lines up in heat six where he will occupy lane five.

Ashmeade, who is competing at his first Olympics, will have for company 2014 European champion Adam Gemili of Great Britain.

The American pair of 100m silver medallist, Justin Gatlin, and 400m bronze medallist, Lashawn Merritt, will contest heats five and eight respectively.

The first Jamaican to take the plunge this morning will, however, be Yona Knight-Wisdom in the semi-final of the men’s 3-metre springboard diving competition at 8 a.m. Knight-Wisdom, who has already made history by being the country’s first ever representative in diving at the Olympics, will seek to ride the wave all the way to this afternoon’s final.

Three females will also take to the track for Jamaica this morning in the opening round of women’s 100m hurdles at 9:05.

Last year’s World Championships finalist, Shermaine Williams, will run out of lane four in heat one as she does battle with Kristi Castlin of the United States.

Nickiesha Wilson, who contested the 400m hurdles at her previous two Olympics outings, will line up in heat four of the 100m obstacle race where she will run out of lane four.

Joining Wilson in the race will be 2013 World Championships bronze medallist, Tiffany Porter, of Great Britain.

Jamaican champion Megan Simmonds has been handed a testing Olympic debut, as she will race out of lane eight in heat six. The pint-sized athlete will be up against US champion and event favourite Brianna Rollins.

PROFILES
Usain Bolt:

Age: 29 years old
High School: William Knibb Memorial High School
Events: men’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Personal Best: 100m – 9.58s, 200m – 19.19s
Interesting Facts:
Bolt made his Olympic debut as a 17-year-old at Athens 2004, where, hampered by a torn hamstring, he went out in the opening round of the 200m.
He is the first athlete to set three world records in a single Olympic Games competition.
In the 2012 Olympic Games Bolt became the first athlete in history to win the 100m and 200m sprints at successive Olympic Games

Yohan Blake:
Age: 26 years old
High School: Saint Jago
Events: Men’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Personal Best: 100m - 9.69s, 200m - 19.26s
Interesting Facts:
Blake and American Tyson Gay share the title of second fattest man in history with a time of 9.69.
In April 2013, while at a 100-meter race in Jamaica, the hamstring in Blake’s right leg tore, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
In July 2014, his hamstring ripped off his pelvis bone at the 60-meter mark at a race in Glasgow, Scotland resulting in him missing the rest of the season and most of 2015.
In 2011 he capitalised on Bolt false starting in the Daegu World Championships final to take gold.

Nickel Ashmeade:
Age: 26 years old
High School: St. Jago High School
Tertiary Education: N/A
Events: men’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Personal Best: 100m - 9.90s, 200m - 19.85s
Interesting Facts:
Ashmeade is competing at his first Olympics
Ashmeade and Yohan Blake were St Jago High School teammates

Yona Knight-Wisdom:
Age: 21-years-old
Tertiary Education: Leeds Beckett University
Event: Men’s 3m springboard
Interesting Facts:
He was born in England and began diving in 2004. His father is Jamaican and his mother is Barbadian, making him eligible to represent three countries.

Shermaine Williams:
Age: 26 years old
High School: Convent of Mercy Academy Alpha
Tertiary Education: Johnson C. Smith University
Events: Women’s 100m hurdles
Personal Best: 12.78s
Interesting Facts:
Her younger sister, Danielle Williams, is the reigning world champion but missed out on the Olympics after crashing into a hurdle and falling during Jamaica’s national trials.
Won world youth and world junior in the 100m hurdles in 2007 and 2008 respectively
German athlete Cindy Roleder was the subject of harsh criticism after she was accused of snubbing Shermaine’s handshake following last year’s World Championships final.

Nickiesha Wilson:
Age: 30 years old
High School: Convent of Mercy Academy Alpha
Tertiary Education: Louisiana State University
Events: Women’s 100m hurdles
Personal Best: 12.79s
Interesting Facts:
Wilson contested the 400m hurdles at the previous two Olympics and the last three editions of the World Championships finishing fourth at the latter’s 2007 staging.
She was a 17-time college All-American and 3-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Champion competing in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles.

Megan Simmonds:
Age: 22 years old
High School: St. Andrew High School for Girls
Tertiary Education: University of Technology, Jamaica
Events: Women’s 100m hurdles
Personal Best: 12.79s
Interesting Facts:
Having failed to finish at two previous national senior trials Simmonds final got it right in 2016 to win the title and book her spot to the Olympics
This is the 2011 World Youth Championships finalist’s first senior global competition
She stands at 5ft 2in (1.57m) tall