MVP athletes to compete in Europe
World long jump champion Tajay Gayle will compete in Europe for the first time this season in Bellinzona, Switzerland, today, while three of his training partners from MVP Track Club left the island yesterday to join him on the continent, as they finish off a 2020 athletics season that has been warped by the coronavirus.
Paul Francis, one of the coaches at MVP, told The Gleaner that Gayle, Elaine Thompson Herah, Julian Forte and Bahamian Anthonique Strachan will only compete in a few meets before they return to the island.
Francis noted that the club felt comfortable that the athletes could travel and keep themselves safe while in Europe, even though cases of COVID-19 are beginning to rise again around the globe.
“I think other people in the world have shown that there is a safe way to go about taking care of business, the airports, and while competing,” Francis said. “When they come back they will have to quarantine 14 days, as is the rules of the Government. The intention is not to hurt anyone, but like other parts, we have to continue what we are doing. Professional sports have resumed globally, the only place where it is still on hold is in Jamaica.”
Thompson Herah and Forte will compete in the men’s and women’s 100m at the Rome Diamond League on Friday.
Forte will line up against top South African sprinter Akani Simbine, who has a season-best time of 9.91 seconds.
Forte registered his fastest legal time 10.03 seconds at the second meeting of MVP’s Velocity Fest. He returned a week later and blitzed to 9.96 seconds, but he was robbed by an unfavourable wind reading of +2.1m/s.
Thompson Herah’s strongest challenge should come from Marie Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire.
Thompson Herah should have her way, considering that she is going in with a season-best time of 10.88 seconds, a time she registered in August at Velocity Fest four.
“Competition is a crucial part of training and that is why it was important for us to put on a meet like Velocity Fest,” Francis said.