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49 book tickets to Olympics so far

Published:Tuesday | July 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Following last weekend's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships inside the National Stadium, 49 athletes have already secured a spot on Jamaica's track and field team to the Olympic Games in London, but the door is still open for others.

With the period for qualification stretching to July 8, athletes who are yet to meet the standards for their events will be looking to achieve the requisite marks in time to book a place on the team.

Already qualified is a mix of experienced campaigners and explosive first-time Olympians.

"Forty-nine athletes have qualified based on results from the trials this weekend, but it's a process, and we cannot name the team because there is still an opportunity for others to make the team," explained JAAA secretary, Garth Gayle.

"The door remains open for those who have not attained the qualifying mark for certain respective events, such as some of the females in some field events, for instance," Gayle added.

Kateema Riettie, who threw 52.51m to win the women's javelin is among those who will be looking to get a standard over the next few days. The Olympic women javelin 'A' standard stands at 61m, with the 'B' standard at 59m. Riettie has so far thrown 53.65m since the window opened on May 1, 2011.

Jamaica is also yet to qualify a female high jumper, with no one satisfying the 1.92m (B) or 1.95m (A) standards. Wilbert Walker has yet to meet the 16.85m (B) standard in the triple jump with a best of 16.33m.

Bolt the man to beat

Leading the line of qualifiers is triple Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt, who, despite his double loss to world 100m champion Yohan Blake over the weekend, will enter this summer's Olympic Games as the man to beat in both the 100m and 200m events.

Double national sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also secured her chance to defend the Olympic 100m title she won in Beijing four years ago, after bettering two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown over the 100m and 200m at the trials, the two forming a formidable 100m trio with silver medallist from two years ago, Kerron Stewart.

Blake underlined his ability and, heading to his first Olympic Games, is now being touted as Bolt's chief challenger in both sprints. First-time senior team qualifier, Warren Weir, is also expected to continue his remarkable improvements in London.

Weir, who works out alongside Bolt and Blake at the Racers Track Club, finished third in the 200m at the trials and has developed significantly into a sub-20-seconds sprinter, since taking up the event full-time in the past year.