Several high-class duels are expected to highlight the JN-Racers Grand Prix at Jamaica’s National Stadium on Saturday 9 June.
This has been revealed by Coach Glen Mills in a partial list of competing athletes released for a press conference today under the banner “Stars: The Next Generation”.
Jostling to top the billing is a rerun of the Commonwealth Games 200 metres for women, where silver medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica will seek to lower her personal best once more in an attempt to secure her first victory over gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas. Hoping to spoil the party will be the USA’s Kyra Jefferson, who has a personal best of 22.02 seconds.
On the men’s side, it is hard to choose which event should top the billing: whether the short sprints, the 400 metres, the high hurdles or, indeed, the high jump.
In the short sprints both Jamaican Yohan Blake and Englishman Zharnel Hughes are seeking redemption for their Commonwealth Games misfortunes. Their test comes in the form of Great Britain’s Miguel Francis and Jamaicans Kemar Bailey-Cole and Julien Forte.
In the 400 metres, it will be at least a three-way battle between Fred Kerley of the USA, Javon Francis of Jamaica and Karabo Sibanda of Botswana.
In the women’s 100 metres; Tori Bowie and Candice Hill of the USA, Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago, and Christania Williams and Remona Burchell of Jamaica; in the women’s 400 metres: Anastasia Leroy and Stephenie McPherson of Jamaica, and Francena McCorory and Natasha Hastings of the USA; in the women’s 400-metre hurdles: USA Olympians Ashley Spencer and Cassandra Tate, and Jamaican Olympians and World Championships competitors Janieve Russell, Kaliese Spencer, Ristananna Tracey and Rhonda Whyte; in the triple jump: Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts.
However, Jamaican shot-putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd would like to burnish her new Commonwealth Games gold medal by vanquishing Olympic gold medalist Michelle Carter and in the process move the Jamaican national record closer to the 20-metre mark. Hopefully, there will be a long enough lull in activities on the track for spectators in the stadium to fix their gaze on this contest. The other contestants, including three other women over the 19-metre mark, will be trying to prevent these titans from hogging the spotlight in the ring.
Fresh from her first international medal and first 800-metre run under 1 minute and 59 seconds, Natoya Goule of Jamaica will be seeking respect from Americans Ajee Wilson and Charlene Lipsey – both of whom have run under 1:58.00.
Just as pulsating should be the 110-metre hurdles. Here there promises to be three simultaneous duels: between the Jamaicans Ronald Levy and Hansle Parchment; between the Americans Jarret Eaton and Aries Merritt; and between the Jamaicans and the Americans.
Not to be outdone for high-quality competition should be the men’s high jump. Here the field includes 6 men who have jumped 2.27 metres or better, including Commonwealth Games silver medalist Jamal Wilson of the Bahamas – a 2.30 metres jumper.
The male roster of competitors released include – in the discus: Travis Smikle of Jamaica, Jorge Fernandez of Cuba, and Jared Schuurmans of the USA; in the 400 metres: Demish Gaye and Rusheen McDonald of Jamaica; in the short sprints: Roberto Perez of Cuba and Aska Cambridge of Japan.
Other athletes from Jamaican clubs including Racers, MVP, Akan, Sprintec and Cameron Blazers will also participate; and all lanes will be filled.
Ticket prices remain unchanged from last year. Online sales begin on the 1st of May at racersgrandprix.com and mysticonline.com; physical tickets will be available in outlets the week of the meet.