Jamaican young guns making early waves ahead of Rio Olympics

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Marvin Williams, Simoya Campbell, Natoya Goule, Samantha James, Akeem Bloomfield, Christania Williams, Javon Francis, Elaine Thompson, Blessing Okagbare, Kerron Stewart, Janieve Russell

Photo: Kingston College’s top athlete, Akeem Bloomfield, who executed a decent 200m race secured victory in a creditable 20.66 seconds.







With less than two months to the National Senior Trials, where athletes will vie for a chance to represent Jamaica at this Summer Olympics in Rio, several of the country’s young established and potential stars showed signs of readiness to rumble with the veterans inside the National Stadium in Kingston with eye-catching performances at the weekend.

Things got started on Friday in the Czech Republic at the Ostrava Golden Spike Meet where Javon Francis took the scalps of some big boys with victory in the 400m. He recorded his third sub-45 clocking for the season, crossing the line in 44.87 seconds.Two days later Francis continued his winning trend, registering 45.35 for victory at the 35th edition of the FBK Games in Hengelo, an IAAF World Challenge meeting.

The Jamaican fever continued on Sunday over at the inaugural staging of the - Rabat Diamond League 2016. The meet was previously a challenge series event but has since been upgraded to Diamond League status.

Elaine Thompson served up another bowl of confident running and very good execution to take the women’s 100m in 11.02s (-1.3) to eclipsed Chandra Stirrup's meeting record of 11.14 done in 2010.

The World Champion 200m silver medallist comfortably repelled the challenge of Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.11 seconds) and fellow countrywoman Kerron Stewart 3rd, in season best effort of 11.19 seconds

Janieve Russell showed tremendous improvement from her previous Diamond League appearances to snatch the Women's 400m Hurdles in a new personal best time of 54.16 seconds. Russell has shown good early season form after making the finals of this event at the World Championships last summer in Beijing, China.

The time kept her ranked second on the IAAF list for 2016, in that particular discipline, behind USA’s Georganne Moline who leads with 53.97 seconds.

Back locally, at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) All-Comers meet on Saturday evening, it was the Christania Williams show as the MVP and University of Technology (UTech) athlete, lowered her 100-metre personal best to 11.07 seconds to now sit fourth on the Jamaican female 100m ranking this season.

Veronica Campbell-Brown with 10.91 and Simone Facey (11.00) along with Thompson are ahead of the Former Edwin Allen sprinter. 

It was a rewarding evening for another MVP/Utech star, Shimirya Williams, who clocked a new personal best time of 23.05 seconds to leap frog into seventh spot based on the nation’s 200m ranking for females.

Another tongue wagging moment on the night came via Kingston College’s top athlete, Akeem Bloomfield, who executed a decent 200m race to secure victory in a creditable 20.66 seconds.

There has been much speculation that the young sprinter could contest the 200/400m double at the upcoming Junior trails and opt for the 400m at the Senior Trials. The young phenom admitted feeling nervous going up against the seniors but showed no signs of nerves as he cruised home, well ahead of the field. His coach Neil Harris believes Bloomfield "could have gone much faster had he not shut it down with 15 meters to go."

Mico University athlete Samantha James made another statement of intenet in her bid to secure a spot on the 800m team to Rio, by racing to a new personal best effort of 2:03.94 seconds. The time fell short of the qualifying time of 2:01.50, but the Cameron Blazers athlete is edging ever so close to joining reigning National Champion Natoya Goule and UTech/MVP Simoya Campbell in securing the qualifying time before the trials. Both Campbell and Goule represented the country at last year’s Beijing World Championships. 

The country could have three ladies in Rio, with other contenders expected in the form of many times national champion Kenia Sinclair and World Relay representative Kimara McDonald also expected to be in the mix

Former St Elizabeth Technical star and 2013 World Youth 400-metre hurdles champion Marvin Williams, showed some racing maturity as he overhauled experienced campaigner Josef Robertson to win in 50.14 seconds.

Jamaica's leading 400m hurdler is another World Youth and World Junior Champion, Jaheel Hyde who despite suffering a mishap in Ostrava on Friday, is still looking on track to defend his 400m hurdles junior title and also secure a spot to the Rio Olympics.His current season's best and World Junior leading mark stands at 49.16, which he achieved at the 2016 Jamaica International Invitational Meet earlier this month..