The Inaugural staging of the Racers Grand Prix produced at least some nail-biting finishes, races so closely contested that had fans and supporters yelling themselves hoarse, screaming at the stadiums big screen, as they watched the athletes pushing with every stride to go just a little bit harder.
The Men's 100m was the race was one of the events that many spectators inside the national came out to witness. The event pitted three of Jamaica’s top 100m sprinters of all times against each other - going head to head in a super weight clash.
In a sensational finish, Bolt surged over the final 50 meters, making up a deficit that resulted from a stumble after leaving the starters block. He crossed the line in a new season's best time of 9.88 seconds ahead of “race spoiler” and fellow countryman Nickel Ashmeade in 9.94 seconds. Yohan Blake (9.94s) and Asafa Powell (9.98s), finished third and fourth respectively.
The calibre of the race was such that Michael Frater finished back of the field in a creditable 10.04 seconds.
It could almost be described as a two horse dead heat run in the Women’s 100m, where reigning Olympic champion and hometown girl Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce prevailed in a tussle with 2016 World Indoor 60m champion American Barbara Pierre to win in 11.09 seconds.
Pierre was timed in 11.11 seconds and finishing third was Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly Ann Baptiste 11.15 seconds. Jamaica’s pair of Gayon Evans and Remona Burchell given the same time of 11.24 seconds for fourth and fifth respectively.
The 100m A races were both an exciting prelude to the blue ribbon events as two of the nation’s upcoming talents in Christania Williams 11.11 seconds and Jason Livermore 10.03 seconds executing two wonderful runs against relatively decent fields.
Williams was followed home by fast rising sprinter Sasha Lee Forbes in a new personal best effort of 11.28 seconds while Livermore got by Antigua’s Daniel Bailey 10.09 seconds and Jamaica’s Chadic Hinds third in a personal best effort of 10.12 seconds.
Returning to her old stomping ground, Bahamian Shanaue Miller showed that she is in good form this season by improving on her new national 200m record of 22.14 set back in 2014 inside the national stadium crossing the line to win of 22.05 seconds. USA’s Jenna Prandini 22.39 and Jamaica’s Audra Segree 22.89 seconds copped the runner up spots.
Antiguan Miguel Francis also came ready for the party, copping the male equivalent in a new personal best and national record of 19.88 seconds, and defeating the Jamaican pair of Julian Forte 20.18 and Warren Weir 20.32 seconds.
The women’s sprint hurdles went to USA’s Sharika Nelvis in very good 12.61 seconds to hold off a fast finishing Danielle Williams 12.77 and the diminutive Megan Simmonds who blazed to third place personal best time of 12.86 seconds.
New to the Jamaican track scene, but not new to 110m hurdles, David Oliver had to dig deep for a season's best effort of 13.09 seconds to hold off a lionhearted run by Jamaican Deuce Crater who romped to a new personal best of 13.20 seconds.
USA’s Jarrett Eaton was third in 13.28 seconds, with Andrew Riley finishing down the track sixth position with a time of 13.48 seconds.
South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk provided a special 300m treat on the night defeating arch rival USA’s LaShawn Merritt and his teammate Tony McQuay. His winning time of 31.03 propelled in third on the all-time list for that event. Merit settled for second with a new personal best of 31.23 ahead of McQuay 31.64 seconds.
World championship 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson ran a well-judged race to defeat the chasing pack in 50.72 seconds. Fellow countrywoman Christine Day who led coming into the homestretch, held on for second in 51.22 seconds.
Trinidad & Tobago’s World Junior champion Machel Cedenio secured the men’s equivalent in a pretty fast time of 44.37 seconds. Grenada’s Bralon Taplin 44.76 and Jamaica’s Javon Francis finished 44.81 was second and third respectively.
Photo: Usain Bolt wins the 100m in 9.88s at the inaugural Racers Grand Prix Meet - also in picture - Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater
In the 'A' race, high school sensation Christopher Taylor was second best in 45.66 seconds, beaten by Great Britain’s Delano Williams in 45.50 seconds - both men running season best times.
The men’s 400m hurdles went to confident looking Johnny Dutch out of the USA in a new world leading time of 48.10. Jamaica's Roxroy Cato was runner up in 48.98 ahead of Ansert Whyte in 49.25 seconds.
National junior standout Jaheel Hyde didn’t quite find his footing on the night and finished down in seventh spot in an almost pedestrian 50.56 seconds.
Reigning National 800m champion Natoya Goule put in a very mature display to win that event in a decent 2: 00.23 seconds, leading home national record holder and role model Kenia Sinclair, who was second in 2:01.32 seconds.
USA’s Charlene Lipsey 2:01.43 seconds and Jamaica’s Simoya Campbell 2:02.73 seconds were third and fourth respectively.
Out in the field Travis Bailey produced a mark of 63.96m to win the Men’s Discus ahead of Fedrick Dacres (61.59m) and Rodney Brown (61.50m).
Travis Smikle (60.85m) Chad Wright (60.52m) and Jason Morgan (57.63m) finished fourth, fifth and seventh respectively.
Germany’s Haman Lars (80.73m) and USA’S Chantae Lowe (1.93) won the Men’s Javelin and Women’s high jump events respectively with Nadia Eke (13.52) of Ghana winning the women’s Triple Jump.