Olympics: Jamaican medal contenders given week to prove fitness

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson celebrates after winning the women's 100m event at the Rome's Diamond League competition on June 2, 2016, in Rome.
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson celebrates after winning the women's 100m event at the Rome's Diamond League competition on June 2, 2016, in Rome. PHOTO: AFP

KINGSTON, Jamaica (REUTERS) - Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson and 400m hurdler Janieve Russell have been given until Aug 8 to prove their fitness for the Rio Olympics after getting medical exemptions from the national trials, team bosses said.

Thompson, world 200m silver medallist in 2015, withdrew from the Jamaican 200m final with a hamstring niggle, two days after clocking a world leading 10.70sec to win the 100 metres.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Russell set a season best of 53.96sec on June 2 in Rome, the current third fastest in the world. She did not compete in the trials.

Ludlow Watts, manager of Jamaica's 59 member track and field delegation, said they would be assessed at the team's pre-Olympic training base in Rio de Janeiro by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association technical committee.

"These athletes have a deadline of Aug 8 to prove fitness and that will be done with the medical team by the JAAA," he told the Jamaica Gleaner. "They will determine whether the athletes are medically fit to compete and, in terms of preparation, if they are ready to compete in the races."

A third athlete with a medical exemption, Hansle Parchment, who won bronze in the 110m hurdles at London 2012 and clocked 13.53sec just over a week ago, will also need further tests.

"They have to show that they are injury-free or quite relieved of the injury they suffered," Watts said.

Six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt proved his fitness over 200m with a 19.89sec run at the Diamond League meeting in London on July 22.