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Jamaica International Invitational meet in full motion

Posted by Dresonic on May 2, 2009

ALTHOUGH missing injury stricken Olympic champions Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown, organizers are insisting that today’s sixth staging of the Jamaica International Invitational meet will still produce many top-class performances.

Chairman of the organizing committee for the IAAF Area Permit meet, Howard Aris, told Sporting World that track and field fans will have a treat inside Kingston’s National Stadium, starting at 6:30 pm.
Jamaican 100m Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart (right) and USA’s leading 400m women’s runner Jamaican-born Sanya Richards go through their paces at the National Stadium yesterday in preparation for today’s Jamaica International Invitational meet.

“We have an excellent field of athletes and very competitive events and we look forward to another outstanding evening of entertainment in track and field, as we have been witnessing for the past five years,” Aris said.

Athletes’ liaison and 1976 200m Olympic champion Donald Quarrie noted that even with the absence of Bolt and Campbell-Brown, “the overall quality of the competitors” will lead to excellent times.

The optimism from Aris and Quarrie for quality performances, is easily justified given the high calibre of athletes, listed to face the starter in more than 20 events.

The women’s 100m and 400m, as well as the men’s 400m hurdles, 100m and Shot Put should be among the hotly contested races on the three-hour programme.
Jamaican 100m hurdler Deloreen Ennis-London works out at the National Stadium yesterday as she prepares for today’s Jamaica International Invitational meet.

Shelly-Ann Fraser, who posted a mind-boggling 10.78secs to win the 100m in Beijing and silver medallist Kerron Stewart with a personal best of 10.80secs, will square off against the American pair of Marshevet Hooker and Bianka Knight.

Fraser told Sporting World that she will be using the race to fix her technique flaws, even as she faces some tough competitors.

“I’m just looking to accomplish a good time and to execute a proper race because right now it’s all about my start and technique that I’m focusing on at training,” Fraser said.

Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Jamaicans Aleen Bailey and Schillonie Calvert completes the crack 100m field.

The men’s equivalent will feature Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, American Darvis Patton, Jamaican junior record holder Yohan Blake and Dwight Thomas, as well as the 2003 World champion Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis.

Melaine Walker, the Olympic 400m hurdles record holder and gold medallist, will step down to the flat 400m to face-off against the current world number one, American Sanya Richards.

They will be joined by Rosemarie White, the seventh-placed finisher in Beijing, as well as 2007 World Championship bronze medallist Novlene Williams, along with rising stars Sonita Sutherland, Bobby-Gaye Wilkins and Moya Thompson.

The men’s 400m hurdles will pit Jamaica’s Danny McFarlane, the fourth-placed finisher in Beijing, against the silver medallist and current world number one Kerron Clement of the USA.

McFarlane, the Olympic silver medallist from Athens 2004, says despite a niggling calf problem, he is close to full fitness and will put on a good show today.

“I’m not a hundred per cent right now… I’m about 85 to 90 per cent, so I’ll go out there and see what can happen,” McFarlane said, noting that it will be his second race of the season after posting 49.96secs one week ago.

Clement, who posted 47.79secs to win here last year, told Sporting World he’s aiming to run a similar time today.

“It is my first 400 hurdle race (of the season) and I’m just looking forward to run an even race and winning in a similar time like last year,” Clement said. Olympic semi-finalist Isa Phillips will also face the starter in the one-lap obstacle race. The men’s Shot Put with world number two Christian Cantwell of the USA and Jamaica’s national record holder Dorian Scott should produce some big throws.

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