Hubert Lawrence, Gleaner Writer
There was an air of relentless purity at the trials, the National Senior Championships last week. It swept away young prospects and storied veterans with equal cruelty and left us anxious for London.
Mercifully, all four of our reigning Olympic champions made it. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce rocketed in the 100-metre picture with a super run of 10.70 seconds and expanded her portfolio with dominance over 200 metres. Melaine Walker did a workmanlike job in the 400-metre hurdles.
Despite defeats at the hands of Fraser-Pryce and World Champion Yohan Blake, respectively, the redoubtable Veronica Campbell-Brown and the incomparable Usain Bolt kept their title defence hopes on track.
Lively at 10.84 in the 100, Veronica looked a little flat in the 200 where she was third to Fraser-Pryce and Sherone Simpson. Bereft of his start presumably by the after-effects of a recent car accident, the tall man showed his greatness with times of 9.86 and 19.83 seconds. If he can operate at 100 per cent in London, he'll be fine.
A list of new names prompted talk of a changing of the guard. Dane Hyatt and 19-year-old Rusheen McDonald went 1-2 in the 400 and Hyatt went under 45 seconds. Latoya Greaves and Shermaine Williams began to fulfil the promise they showed as juniors by fast running in the 100 hurdles.
In the men's 200, Warren Weir first joined Jamaica's elite 200 metres runners by slipping past the 20-second barrier with a 19.99 in the semis. In the final, he took a team spot in third.
Best of all from the young brigade was discus thrower Traves Smikle. Needing to surpass the Olympic A qualifying mark of 65 metres to command a place on the team, the left-hander swung a perfect throw out to 66.84 in the first round. Two throws later, he put the heat on Jason Morgan's recent national record. His effort of 67.12 metres fell short by three centimetres.
Remarkably, sprint paradise Jamaica will have two men - Morgan and Smikle - in the discus in London.
The relentless purity of the trials meant that we may have seen the last of great servants like Danny McFarlane, Delloreen Ennis-London and Olivia McKoy, all three-time Olympians. Dwight Thomas, who was also in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, limped off after the 110 metres hurdles.
His event will be staffed by newcomers Hansle Parchment and Andrew Riley. Between them, they may soon take Dwight's national record of 13.15 seconds.
However, the young brigade had its own causalties. Jacques Harvey and Carrie Russell, both World Student Games 100 champions, Daegu team members Jura Levy and Dexter Lee, and middle-distance darling Natoya Goule are all on the outside looking in.
Anniesha McLaughlin and Rasheed Dwyer, the World Student Games 200 champions, were also caught napping. Fortunately, McLaughlin might get a reprieve if Fraser-Pryce chooses to run only the 100 in London.
If history is any guide, it's possible as the same choice was made in 2009 for the World Championships in Berlin.
The trials had a mini-tragedy as an ankle injury cut down national high jump record holder, Sheree Ruff.
There are a few athletes on standby. Javelin thrower Kateema Riette will chase the B standard this weekend. Ricardo Cunningham and Canada-based Ricky West can probably reach the B of 1.46.30 for the 800 if given the chance.
The same goes for World Student Games shot winner, Odayne Richards, and our women in the long jump. They've all got to hurry. The last day for making the qualifying standards is July 8.
Out of sorts at the trials, two-time Olympic finalist Trecia Smith is probably giving thanks for her A standard qualifier of 14.33 metres produced on May 15 last year, just two weeks after the qualifying period began.
The trials are a relentless test of the mental and physical readiness of each athlete in near-Championship condition. Those who survive it deserve the right to be called Olympians.
Hubert Lawrence has covered athletics since 1987.