Photo: 2015 World Championship finalist Fedrick Dacres, is the top ranked Jamaican discus thrower and sits among the top five globally with 68.02m.
As the build up to the Senior national trials 2016 continues, it's time to look forward to what should be a new dawning in the field events and specifically throwing events for Jamaica. For the first time the country will have Olympic representation in three throwing events and the possibility of a fourth discipline is very much possible for the country dubbed as the ‘sprint capital of world.’
The men's Shot Put is one event that Jamaica has enjoyed good success in in the last two years through national record holder O’Dayne Richards who is taking aim at his first Olympic Games. His season has been affected by an early season injury which has prevented the MVP athlete from exploding as he had been doing the last two seasons. His season best of 19.22m ranks him second on the list amongst Jamaican athletes.
The top ranked Jamaican is Ashina Miller who threw a season’s best of 20.02m in May 2016, but that mark is still short of the required 20.50 needed for Olympic qualification.
Fedrick Dacres with18.97m is amongst the top three seniors, but is also away off from qualifying, which he may not attempt as his more favoured event is the Discus Throw.
Raymond Brown, Chad Wright and the leading school boys in Warren Barrett, Sanjay Lawrence and Kevin Nedrick should be a part of the Men’s field.
In the women's event, World Championship representative Danielle Thomas has mastered the sophisticated spin technique and it has seen her improving in her throws over the last two years. Thomas should retain her national title quite easily and hopefully solidify her spot to Rio.
Despite her 17.60 season’s best putting her outside the top fifty in the world, Thomas should have things easy against the local girls but it is hoped that she can get enough competition to get her close to or beyond her 17.76m personal best and beyond the 17.75m Olympic qualification standard.
The roster should be completed by Sireta Roache, DeveneBrown, Kaymarie Jones, Nayoka Clunis, St. Jago’s Janell Fullerton and Excelsior pair of Latifah Smith and Tavia Dixon.
There might be a clear dominant athlete for both genders in the Shot Put, but there will not be any hegemonic athlete in the discus event, come this weekend. This year’s roster will be the best ever assembled on paper. The top three ladies have already thrown over the Olympic qualification mark.
National record holder, and Florida State University champion Kellion Knibb (61.44m) is among the top 30 athletes globally. Kansas State University Freshman Shadae Lawrence (61.18m) and Grand Canyon University’s Tara Sue Barnett (61.28m) is also sitting amongst the top 40 female Discus throwers.
Neither of those athletes can rest comfortable just yet, as former national champion Allison Randall, with a season’s best mark of 60.94m, is keen on grabbing a spot to her second Olympic Games. The defending National champion Daniel Thomas with 57.93m to her name for this season will also be keen to join the history making group.
Samantha Hall of the University of Texas with 56.48m and Florida State Sasha Ann Lebert (55.65m) are two others expected to sweeten the deal.
The field will get as good as we can have it with the inform junior standout and new national junior record holder Shanice Love (54.72m) expected to be there to rumble with the big girls.
Nayoka Clunis, Shanice Brown, Isheka Binns, Venique Harris, Sasha Gaye Marston, Vanessa Levy and Devene Brown will also be in the hunt for far distances and ultimately that 61.00m mark set forth as the Olympic standard.
Inspite of where the dust will settle, Jamaica will have three female Discus throwers in Rio, a first in the country’s history - at any level.
The men's discus team has had three representatives at one of the top level of competitions before, as they achieved that historic feat at the 2015 Beijing World Championships.
This year it should play out as a battle between four athletes vying for three spots. Amongst that pile are two athletes who have already made the Olympic standard of 65.00m during the ongoing qualification period.
2015 World Championship finalist Fedrick Dacres, is the top ranked athlete and sits among the top five globally with 68.02m. National Record holder Jason Morgan is the other qualifier but his season best is just at 63.11m and that places him fourth amongst Jamaican athletes.
The chasing pack is led by second ranked Chad Wright, who has a season’s best mark of 64.45m and third is Travis Smikle who has gone out to 63.42m this season.
Outside of the top four we should see creditable showings from Munro College’s Kino Dunkley, Basil Bingham, Glenford Watson, Caniggia Raynor, Demar Gayle, Alec-Verne Longmore and possible showing from national junior top two finishers Petersfield’s pair of Sanjae Lawrence and Kevin Nedrick.
The defence of his 2015 national title might be the first priority of Orlando Thomas and then a possible strike at the 83.00 Olympic qualification mark. The UTech student will however be kept honest with a stern challenge from top Jamaican and new national record holder Orin Powell of GC Foster College, who has a season’s best of 75.01m.
Former Calabar high standout pair of Andre Mitchell and Najair Jackson should be in the mix for a top three spot.
The female line up should be a small roster and should not be amongst the more interesting events at trials, but the ladies should be vying for bragging rights to be crowned national champion.
Reigning national champion and record holder Olivia McKoy might be far off from her best that would see her heading to her third Olympic Games, but she might be good enough to win another national title. The 2016 Intercollegiate champion Olivia Leckford has been fairly consistent this season and will be looking to ad the National title to her accolades.
The rest of the field should see faces such Kaymarie Jones, Taleika Nelson, Katiemma Rettie and Latasha Grant.
The women’s Hammer throw will see the new and improved national record holder and 2016 Olympic qualifier Dania Levy treating local fans to a good showing on Saturday. The Kansas State University graduate improved her national record to 71.48m last weekend. Other athletes expected to take to the field in this least popular field event is Natalie Grant, Vanessa Levy. Kaymarie Jones and Nayoka Clunis
National record holder and reigning National champion Caniggia Raynor should win the Men’s event for another year.