Stars set to shine at JIIM 2017
The National Stadium will be buzzing with excitement this afternoon as several of the world's leading track and field athletes will display their talent when they compete at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet.
Action gets underway at 5 p.m with the men's Masters 100m and will be followed by several development events before the international schedule gets underway at 5:45 p.m with the Javelin thrown for women.
Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson will bring the meet to an end when she competes in the women's 200 metres at 9:25 p.m.
Thompson has shown herself to be a notch above all sprinters in the world and has started her season in commanding fashion. Following a world best of 10.78 seconds in the 100m and, Thompson could very well improve on her season best of 22.19 seconds over 200m done in Doha, where she easily defeated main rival Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.
World and Olympic 400m bronze medallist, Shericka Jackson, will also line up in the 200m and it will be interesting to see if she can lower her personal best of 22.57 seconds done a few weeks ago on the same track.
The women's 400m, which is slated for 7:50 p.m, is expected to be one of the most competitive on the programme as the United States and Jamaica will have four athletes each in the event. Natasha Hasting with a season best of 50.74 seconds will lead the USA's charge, while veteran Novlene Williams-Mills, who always runs well on local soil, will lead the Jamaicans. After a slow start where she finished down the track at the Shanghai Diamond League, Stephenie-Ann McPherson will be gunning to make ammends and could spoil the American party here where the likes of Courtney Okolo and Phyllis Francis, who all went under 50 seconds last year will also carry the fight for the Americans. Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby and Christine Day are the other Jamaicans down to compete here.
Both women's 100m and 100m hurdles events should be competitive. The 100m will see the American, Allison Felix stepping down from her usual 200m/400m tandem, with local stars like Natasha Morrison, Kerron Stewart and Gayon Evens all looking to take her scalp.
After a blazing start to her season two years ago where she had a stadium record of 12.39 seconds in winning the event, Jasmin Stowers looks set for another big run in the sprint hurdles, where she is favoured to win following the withdrawal of world record holder Kendra Harrison. World champion Danielle Williams will be hoping to get back on track following last year's disappointment of missing the Olympic team.
Canadian Andre De Grasse, the Olympic Games 100 metres bronze medallist and 200 metres silver medallist will compete in his first 200m of the season at 9:15 p.m. LaShawn Merritt, the fastest man in the world last year with 19.74 seconds is expected to have a big run here with locals Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir carrying the Jamaican flag.
Yohan Blake will be hoping to make up for his disappointment in the men's 100m following a small mishap at the Utech Classics where his blocks slipped and he finished at the back of the field but will find American Mike Rodgers in his way.