Photo: National Women's 800m champion Natoya Goule will look to retain her title at the National Championships this weekend.
With all the focus and the hype being focussed on the sprints and some field events, this year’s middle and long distance programs will have a few names that are trying to lift the standard and spark more interest in this area.
The women’s 800m was an exciting two way battle inside the national stadium last year with two of the nation’s finest young talents both chasing World Championship dreams and in the end both were able to walk away smiling.
Reigning national champion Natoya Goule and runner up Semoya Campbell have taken on the mantle of 800m running and have since had international representation at the 2015 Beijing World Championships and are both ready to take their craft to the Rio Olympics.
National record holder and trailblazer Kenia Sinclair has dusted off her spikes and is back in business, already hitting the qualifying target of 2:01.50 seconds set for the Olympics.
Hence the nationan is set to have three ladies in this event when the games kicks off on August 5.
This week's National Senior Championships will be a chance to see who can join the pack of three or if the trio will place final signatures on their tickets to Rio. Goule is the top ranked Jamaican with 1:59.38 seconds, while Campbell who is coming back from an early season injury is at 2:02.73 seconds. Sinclair’s season best stands at 2:00.81 seconds
Other athletes looking to tussle with the big three are world relay championship representative Samantha James and Kimarra McDonald.
Jowayne Hibbert who has been playing second fiddle to Ricardo Cunningham for the last two years will fancy his chances at capturing the national title this year, with his nemesis likely to be focusing the 400m hurdles at the championships.
Hibbert season’s best of 1:47.84 is still a little way off from the 1:46.00 seconds Olympic qualifying standard and will have to produce a personal best effort if he intends to join the contingent to Rio.
The highlight of the women's 1500m this year should once again be Olympic qualifier Aisha Praught (4:07.00) who will be looking to secure a second national title and historic representation for Jamaica at the Olympic Games.
Her strongest competition should once again come from 2015 runner up Melinda Renaurt and 2016 Intercollegiate champion Danielle James.
Wesleyan Texas athlete Oraine Wint should be back to defend his national title over 1500m
There is also the possibility of Praught representing the country in this discipline and to continue the legacy of retired duo of Madrea Hyman and Korine Hinds. She has also secured the Olympic qualification standard of 9.45.00 seconds.
The only other threat to a national title is onceagain local based Danielle James
Having already met the qualifying mark of 13:25.00 seconds Kemoy Campbell should be once again racing the clock, chasing a new personal record and another national title. The former Bellefield High school and University of Arkansas graduate best stands at 13:20.39 seconds and he will want to dip below that as he builds up to his first Olympic Games.