Youth, experience underpin Jamaica's challenge in Beijing

Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) winning her first 200m race for the season on April 11, 2015.
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) winning her first 200m race for the season on April 11, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

KINGSTON • Jamaica are banking on a mix of youth and experience to continue their dominance in the sprint events at the Aug 22-30 World Championships in Beijing, after some strong showing at their four-day trials.

The full team will not be named until the Aug 10 deadline, but Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who scorched home in 10.79sec in the 100m, will lead the women even though no decision has been made about defending her 200m crown.

"That's not a decision that has been finalised," Fraser-Pryce, who only weeks ago complained of a hamstring injury, said. "If (coach) says, 'Shelly-Ann, you're doing the 200m', then I'm doing it. "

Fraser-Pryce, who has wild-card entries to both events as defending champion, will be joined by Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson and newcomer Natasha Morrison in the 100m.

Jamaica have had a stranglehold on the men's and women's 100m at the last three World Championships but that could be under threat with six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt, who skipped the trials, yet to get into top form.

Former world record holder Asafa Powell, who has twice run 9.84 this year, most recently last Friday to win his sixth Jamaican title, will join Bolt, Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade.

"Well, I'm definitely not going to China to lose so I would consider myself the favourite," said Powell, a two-time world bronze medallist.

He has never won individual gold at the World Championships or Olympics, even when he was considered a pre-race favourite.

He is optimistic that Bolt will return to form and is no longer worried about the make-up of Jamaica's sprint unit.

"I'm feeling very happy that they (Ashmeade and Bailey-Cole) came out and ran sub-10sec so it shows we are still in with a chance."

Jamaica will also be banking on newcomers Omar McLeod, who logged a world-leading 12.97 in the 110m hurdles; rising star Elaine Thompson, who won the 200m; and Moscow half-lap silver medallist Warren Weir to do well in Beijing.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Youth, experience underpin Jamaica's challenge in Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe