Monday 21 October, 2019

Elaine Thompson, Janieve Russell confirm for National Trials

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson.

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson.

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 400-metre hurdles champion Janieve Russell are among the elite senior athletes confirmed for this month's National Junior and Senior Championships, at the National Stadium.

Those names were released by Ludlow Watt, vice chairman of the organising committee during a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday.

Over 120 senior athletes have already confirmed to compete. No entries have been received from two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Yohan Blake, but Watt pointed out that the deadline for entries are Sunday.

The Junior and Senior Championships will take place simultaneously from June 21-24 and the organisers are expecting about 450 athletes to compete.

Fraser-Pryce is trying to get back to top form after the 31-year-old sprinter took a year off from the track to give birth last August. She has competed three times over 100 metres this season and has a best time of 11.10 seconds, which she achieved when returning to victory at the third staging of the JN Racers Grand Prix, at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Blake is also battling to get back to top form following a disappointing third place finish behind the South African pair of Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies over 100 metres at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and another third place finish at the JN Racers Grand Prix on Saturday, this time to Great Britain Zharnel Hughes, his training partner, and American Noah Lyles.

Among the junior athletes already confirmed are Calabar High schoolboys Christopher Taylor, Micheal Stephens and sprint hurdler Dejour Russell. 

Taylor, the Under-20 world leader in the 200 metres with 20.35 seconds will, however, bypass the junior championship to compete with the seniors over 400 metres.

The 2015 World Youth champion is on fire following two powerful performances among the seniors. Firstly, he clocked 20.49 seconds to beat American Lashawn Merritt (20.60) and Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa (20.70) over 200 metres at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 20. The 18-year-old Taylor returned two weeks later to clock a new personal best of 45.24 seconds at the Cayman Invitational to beat American Champ Page (45.35) and his countryman Javon Francis (45.60).

The senior athletes will compete for spots on Jamaica's team to three international competitions. Those competitions are the inaugural Athletics World Cup in the United Kingdom from July 14-15; the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19-August 3 and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC)  in Toronto, Canada from August 10-12. 

The junior athletes will compete for spots on Jamaica's teams to the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland from July 19-24 and the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 6-18.

The National Junior and Senior Championships will see the return of Supreme Ventures Limited as title sponsors after a one-year absence. The company will invest $10 million dollars into the championships.

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