Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Thompson, Fraser-Pryce, Blake headline National Championships

Elaine Thompson (left), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (centre) and Yohan Blake are among the elite athletes listed to compete at the National Senior Championships at the National Stadium from June 21-24.

Elaine Thompson (left), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (centre) and Yohan Blake are among the elite athletes listed to compete at the National Senior Championships at the National Stadium from June 21-24.

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and 2011 World Championships gold medallist Yohan Blake are among the elite athletes who are down to compete at the four-day National Senior Championships, which begins on Thursday at the National Stadium.

The National Senior Championships will take place simultaneously with the National Junior Championships. 

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.

Thompson and Fraser-Pryce are down to compete in the women's 100 metres, which begins on Thursday with the heats at 8:40 pm.

The men's 100 metres will also begins on the opening day. There will be a qualifying round, which opens the championships at 10:00 am. 

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 earlier this month.

Thompson will be competing for the first time since an easy victory in the women's 100 metres at the Jamaica International Invitational Meeting on May 19.

The national record holder powered home in 11.06 seconds, 11 days after she pulled out of the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai due to what meet organisers called a "physical issue."

A week before that Thompson had finished third in the women's 100 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Doha.

Also listed to compete in the women's 100 metres are Jura Levy, Sherone Simpson, Shericka Jackson, Natasha Morrison and Sashalee  Forbes.

Blake headlines the men's 100-metre field. The 28-year-old sprinter 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 June 9, this time to Great Britain Zharnel Hughes, his training partner, and American Noah Lyles.

Also listed to compete in the men's 100 metres are Kemar Bailey-Cole, Oshane Bailey, Rasheed Dwyer, Kimmari Roach, Michael O'Hara, Nesta Carter and Julian Forte.

Day 1 will also feature the heats of the men and women's 400-metre hurdles.

Janieve Russell, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 400-metre hurdles champion, headlines the women's field. The field also includes Leah Nugent who clocked 54.67 to easily beat Russell at the JN Racers Meet.  Ristananna Tracey, the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist, is also listed to compete.

Among the junior athletes 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 opening round of the men's 400 metres will take place on Friday's second day.

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