Jamaica track and field trials starts today | Loop Jamaica

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Just under a month before the World Athletics Championships begins in Eugene, Oregon, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) will stage its national trials to decide the athletes who will represent the country at the July 14 to 24 athletics showcase.

The Jamaican trials will take place at the National Stadium in Kingston starting on Thursday.

The trials will also decide teams for two other senior competitions and a junior competition. These are the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8, the NACAC Senior Championships in Freeport, The Bahamas from August 19-21 and the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia from August 1-6.

Elaine Thompson-Herah reacts after winning the women’s 100m final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo.

In what is essentially a shoot-out to see who makes the team, the top three athletes in each event will qualify for Oregon, provided they have set the world standard.

One member of the team is already decided as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the current reigning World outdoor champion in the women’s 100m, which gives her a wild card entry to the event in Oregon. As a result of Fraser-Pryce’s wild card entry, Jamaica will have four women in the 100m in Oregon.

Competition at the Jamaican trials is split over four days, starting with the qualifying round of the senior men’s 100m on Thursday at 4:30 pm and ending with the final of the senior men’s 200m final on Sunday at 7:15 pm.

The first junior event will be the final of the girls’ javelin on Thursday at 4:32 pm.

The biggest names on the starting list are double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce, who is a nine-time world champion.

The two could go head-to-head in the 100m and 200m, though the 35-year-old Fraser-Pryce has a bye into the World Championships as the defending champion.

The preliminary round of the women’s 100m is scheduled as the final event on the opening day.

The first heat is scheduled to start at 6:50 pm and will feature Thompson-Herah.

Fraser-Pryce is listed to compete in the second heat but there is no guarantee that she will turn up because of her wild card entry in the event in Oregon.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce raises her arm after she cross the finish line of the women’s 100m at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Fraser-Pryce enter the Jamaican trials in red-hot form. Just under a week before the trials, she equalled her world-leading time of the year in winning the 100m in 10.67 seconds at the Diamond League meet in Paris.

She was unchallenged as she matched her time at the Kip Keino Classic in Kenya last month. She also beat Thompson-Herah’s meet record of 10.72, set last year.

The time is only seven-hundredths off the personal best she ran last year to put herself third on the all-time list.

Fraser-Pryce, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion, is the only woman to ever break 10.70 seconds before July 1 in any year and is now the big favourite to win the gold medal in Oregon.

Thompson-Herah is second in the world way back at 10.79 on the Eugene track that will stage the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

Fraser-Pryce was no match last year to Thompson-Herah and had to settle for a silver medal in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 29-year-old Thompson-Herah has been challenged by injuries this season and has yet to race against Fraser-Pryce in 2022.

Fraser-Pryce now has a chance to face Thompson-Herah in the 100m for the first time this season as each inch closer to the 34-year-old world 100m record.

The current 100m world record has stood since 1988, Florence Griffith-Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, became the only woman ever to break the 10.5-second barrier with a run of 10.49 at the US Olympic trials for Seoul 1988.

Since then, many have deemed the mark impossible to beat – not least because of controversy regarding possible wind assistance at those trials.

Even Thompson-Herah admits that she used to think the time could not be bettered.

But over the last year, both Jamaican sprinters have edged closer to that legendary time, placing themselves second and third on the all-time 100m lists.

Thompson-Herah’s fastest 100m time, set at the post-Olympics Prefontaine Classic in Oregon on August 21, 2021, is a blistering 10.54 seconds, a mere 0.05 off of Flo-Jo’s best-ever mark.

Less than a week later, Fraser-Pryce set her own personal best of 10.60 at the Lausanne Diamond League, beating Thompson-Herah to the line with the third-fastest time in history.

This year, Thompson-Herah has changed her tune about whether she can beat the 100m world record, telling World Athletics in April: “I think, last year I ran everything relaxing, not thinkingabout world titles or world records. And if I can repeat that, not putting any pressure on myself, and repeat what I have done last year, doing even better, I think it’s reachable.”

Shericka Jackson.

Watch out also for Shericka Jackson who won the bronze medal behind Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce in Tokyo and Briana Williams.

Jackson is the third-fastest Jamaican sprinter this season with 10.92 seconds, which puts her 10th in the world, while Williams appears to hit top form ahead of the trials after she won the 100m in 10.97 to equal her personal best at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series at the Ashenheim Stadium at Jamaica College on June 4.

In the 200m, Thompson-Herah is ahead of her main rival Fraser-Pryce both in terms of times and consistency. Once again, she sits second on the all-time list and once again behind Flo-Jo.

She holds three of the top 10 200m times in history, including a fastest of 21.53 set last year at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, while Fraser-Pryce’s best of 21.79 was also set last year at the Jamaican Olympic trials in June 2021.

However, don’t write off Tokyo 2020 100m bronze medallist Jackson. The 27-year-old is more than capable of mixing it with the best, as she proved when she beat Thompson-Herah in the Rome Diamond League meet on June 9.

Obligue Seville wins the men’s 100m in a personal best 9.86 seconds.

In the men’s 100m, only two athletes have dipped under the 10-second mark going into the trials.

Oblique Seville (9.86) and Ackeem Blake (9.95) are Jamaica’s top sprinters and both are expected to run faster at the trials.

Seville, who is 21-year-old, is the second-fastest in the world this year and his 9.86 seconds, which is a personal best, is just behind Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala who has a world lead of 9.85 seconds.

Yohan Blake, the 2011 World champion, who is way back at (10.05) and Rasheed Dwyer (10.14) will be hoping to make the team to Oregon.

The finals of the men’s and women’s 100m are scheduled for Friday’s second day.

Another interesting event is the men’s 400m, which is scheduled for Friday when first-round action begins.

Jamaica currently have one athlete who has run the World Athletics Championships qualifying standard of 44.90 seconds in Jevaughn Powell with 44.87, which is number18 on World Athletics’ top list for the year. Sean Bailey (45.18), Nathon Allen (45.21), Christopher Taylor (45.45) and Javon Francis (45.47) are the others to have run sub-45.5 seconds this season.

The athletes have until June 26 to achieve the qualifying standard but with four athletes running below 45.5 seconds they seem on target to achieve the qualifying standard at the trials. As a result, the 400m should be one of the really hot events.