Sprint showdown at Stadium
Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Former world 100-metre record holder, Asafa Powell, will definitely not run today but Jamaica's IAAF World Championships 200 metres finalist, Nickel Ashmeade, is eagerly anticipating today's reunion with his former St Jago High teammate Yohan Blake, when the two lock horns in the half-lap event at the JN Jamaica Invitational IAAF World Challenge meet inside the National Stadium.
"We decided that we would not take the risk with his injury and he won't be running in any other event tomorrow. It was either the 200m or nothing, so we just have to focus on his next race," said Powell's agent Paul Doyle yesterday.
'A sweet field'
Powell's aggravated groin injury means that he will now turn his attention to the Doha Diamond League meet on May 11, but his withdrawal has done little to dampen the excitement around the event and the meet in general, with two of the country's fastest-ever
"It's a sweet field, it's going to be a hot race with exceptional athletes," Ashmeade told The Gleaner yesterday shortly after training. "No one is too special, everyone wants to win and I will be going out there to do my best."
Ashmeade's 19.95 seconds meet record which was set last year could well be threatened by Blake, who ran the second-fastest 200m in history at the backend of last season - 19.26.
However, the powerfully built Ashmeade is looking to build on the successes of last season, which saw him qualify for the World Championships final despite carrying an injury that kept him out of proper training for a few weeks.
"I am just here to see what training has been doing for me. I'm looking forward to going out there and just do my best," said Ashmeade, a World Youth and World Junior medallist. "It's my first 200m for the season, so I am just going to go out there, execute well, do what my coach says I'm to do and see how it goes."
In one of most anticipated events on the schedule, the men's 100m, triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt will face Nesta Carter, Darvis Patton and Richard Thompson - the man who finished second to him in the 100m final at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Bolt has only surfaced once this season - his lone run coming on the anchor leg of a 4x100m a few weeks ago, which suggests that he may not yet be in the condition to go close to his meet record 9.76, which was done in 2008 and equalled as his season best last year.
However, American Patton and his Trinidadian counterpart Thompson are both looking forward to facing the big Jamaican later today.
Bringing the 'A' game
"This weekend is particularly competitive, with Usain Bolt being in the 100m, so I'm just looking forward to running against him. He is always bringing his 'A' game so it kinda brings everybody's 'A' game out as well, so I am really excited to be here again," said Thompson.
"I am looking forward to the competition a lot," Patton added. "It's always a great field and the organisers have done a great job putting this 100m field together, and I am expecting a very exciting race."
World 100m champion Carmelita Jeter arrived in the island yesterday afternoon, after having difficulties with her flight into Miami on Thursday.
Jeter, who worked out at the National Stadium shortly after touching down on the island, will be looking to get close to the 10.86 time that gave her the win last year and will be pushed by Olympic silver medallists Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, as well as World Championships bronze medallist Kelly-Ann Baptiste.
- Today's events
6:05 p.m.: Women's Triple Jump
7:00 p.m.: Men's Triple Jump
7:02 p.m.: Men's Shot Put
7:05 p.m.: Women's 400m Hurdles
7:10 p.m.: Men's High Jump
7:15 p.m.: Men's 400m Hurdles
7:30 p.m.: Men's 3000m Steeple Chase
7:55 p.m.: Women 100m
8:05 p.m.: Men's 100m
8:10 p.m.: Women's Long Jump
8:23 p.m.: Men's 1500m
8:28 p.m.: Women 1500m
8:34 p.m.: Women's Shot Put
8:45 p.m.: Women's 100m Hurdles
8:55 p.m.: Men's 110m Hurdles
9:10 p.m.: Women's 400m
9:15 p.m.: Men's 400m
9:30 p.m.: Women's 200m
9:45 p.m.: Men's 200m