Defending Olympic champions, new contenders and several past world championship and Olympic team members, past, present and future, all met in big clashes inside the National Stadium on Friday at the ongoing Jamaica National Track & Field Championship.
There were plenty of surprise triumphs on Friday for the younger generation, but Elaine Thompson and Yohan Blake managed to secure another national title in their events.
The MVP athlete once again dominated a decent field to win in a world leading 10.71 seconds ( 0.8m/s) . She finished well ahead of a fast finishing P360 star Simone Facey (11.04 seconds) and Sprintec’s Jura Levy (11.06 seconds).
Former World Championship finalist Natasha Morrison, also from the Sprintec camp was fourth in 11.09 seconds. The top sixth was rounded out by Shasha Lee Forbes (11.10 seconds) and Christania Williams (11.13 seconds).
The male equivalent was an equaling interesting final and with the absence of former record holder Asafa Powell from the start line, it was a all down to Blake matching up with a sharp looking Julian Forte.
Blake, the club mate of world record holder, Usain Bolt manage to prevail in 9.90 seconds (0.9m/s ). Forte of M.V.P held on for second in 10.04 seconds, with University of Texas and former Munro College standout Senoj-Jay Givans rallying to grab third spot in 10.05 seconds.
The UTech/MVP duo of Michael Campbell 10.07 seconds and Tyquendo Tracey 10.15 seconds closed out the top five and opportunity to be amongst the relay pool for the London World Athletics Championships.
Rhonda Whyte of Sprintec took on a substantial challenge against a trio of Rio Olympians for a spot in the Women’s 400m hurdles team and she prevailed in stunning fashion.
The former Intercollegiate champion, running out of lane six rallied from fifth spot in the homestretch to clinch her first national title in 54.29 seconds. (pb) . Her training partner and defending national champion Ristananna Tracey was second in 54.49 seconds ahead Leah Nugent 54.54 seconds.
Pre race Janieve Russell faded badly in the last 150 meters to finish down in fourth in 55.34 seconds and missed a chance at another World Championship Games.
The Men’s 400m hurdles lived up to its billing with the top two contenders going neck and neck down to the line. It was the former World Junior and World Youth champion, Jaheel Hyde from the Cameron Blazers camp who won in 48.53 seconds over the high riding University of Arkansas athlete, Kemar Mowatt, both of whom were given the same time.
The surprise for many though was the third place finisher, Ricardo Cunningham, competing for Visions TC and crossing the line in a new personal best effort of 48.83 which earned him a spot to his first World Championships. Cunningham, formerly a 800m runner and many time national champion, defied his 36 year old age en route to this major accomplishment.
Kemoy Campbell captured another 5000m title, winning that final in 13:53.61 seconds ahead of G.C Foster College’s Oshane Archibald in 15:30.02. The event was contested by only two athlete.
The men’s 1500m went the way of UTech and former st Jago athlete Thaleetio Green, who secure his first national title in 3:59.75 seconds. Kevin Campbell (4:01.89 seconds) running unattached and Darryll Oliver (4:27.30 seconds) competing for Oliver TC finished in the runner up spots.
Other finals contested on day two of the championship, saw Florida State university athlete and former St Jago standout Kellion Knibb reclaiming her national record in the women’s Discuss final winning with new mark of 62.73 m.
The top three completed by UWI’s Isheka Binns 58.84m and Samantha Hall, University Of Texas 58.75m. Former national record holder and Olympian Shadae Lawrence finished fourth wtith a distance of 57.40m.
The third day of the championship will feature events including the finals of the 800m, 400m semis and the 200 prelim and semis and closing out with the 110m hurdles final for men.