By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
On Saturday June 13, 2015, the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City will come alive with the hosting of the Adidas Grand Prix athletics meet, the 7th of the 14 Diamond League series. Seven years ago on a wet track in this stadium, Usain Bolt rewrote the history books with his first 100m world record of 9.72 seconds. Interestingly, the meet had to break midway due to a brief lightning storm which probably was a warning of the ‘lightning run’ the fans would witness later that night in the final event. As is customary, nowadays when Usain Bolt competes, the stadium is sold out way in advance and the World and Olympic champion’s return to the 11th New York Adidas Grand Prix will guarantee another bumper crowd. Bolt rarely runs in the United States and being a consummate entertainer, the world and Olympic champion may deliver another 'lightning' performance that will leave the New York fans ecstatic for a number of years to come. Interestingly, Bolt will be competing in the 200m on this occasion.
Last year at this meet, Jamaica’s Warren Weir executed one of his best 200m races of the Diamond League season posting a stunning 19.82 seconds on his way to victory. One of the remarkable things about the race was seeing Warren Weir slowing down considerably for the last 10 metres. Weir has raced sparingly this season and will be using this meet as a serious examination of his form going into the Jamaica Senior trials 15 days later. The great Usain Bolt will be competing in his third 200m this season. Bolt who is on a mission to protect his legacy over the next three years will be aiming for his first sub-20 second outing this year. The world record holder has an automatic bye in both sprints for the World Championship in August and will be using this 200m race to sharpen up. Other notable contenders in the event include Diamond Race leader Alonso Edward of Panama, Curtis Mitchell of the U.S.A and T&T’s Richard Thompson.
Jamaica’s Nesta Carter who was a surprise winner last year at this meet has been performing below his best this season. Carter, the regular lead off runner on Jamaica’s sprint relay team knows more than anyone else does that running sub-10 seconds at this stage is now a priority. Two of Carter’s compatriots Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade will also face the starter in this event. It should be a very interesting battle among the trio probably seeking to get not only a significant time but also a psychological advantage.
Tyson Gay is a great competitor who has been involved in number of races where the 100m world and Olympic records were broken. Gay opened his season with a fast 9.88 seconds at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The American record holder has not competed at the World Championship since 2009 and will be hungry and determined to make the US team in 2015. Gay will be using the New York Diamond League as part of his build up. The consistent Keston Bledman of Trinidad & Tobago along with US sprinters Trell Kimmons and Diondre Batson should make the event a competitive affair.
The women’s 400m brings together Diamond Race leader Francena McCorory and Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson who occupies second spot courtesy of her victory in Birmingham. However, both McCorory and McPherson will have to be at their best to repel the challenge of the talented Shaunae Miller of Bahamas. Miller has a season best of 50.17 seconds done in April and could go faster against such quality opposition. The experienced duo of Jamaica’s Novelene Williams-Mills and Great Britain’s flag bearer Christine Ohuruogu will be aiming to keep pace with the youngsters. Team US relay specialists DeeDee Trotter and Natasha Hastings are also in this stacked field.
Men’s 110m Hurdles
World champion David Oliver who recently fired his coach of 10 years via email in an unfortunate war of words will be looking to put that incident behind him and register another fast time. Rising star Aleec Harris, will be hoping to bounce back from a disastrous outing at the Prefontaine Classic. Cuba’s Orlando Ortega with victory at the Birmingham Diamond League has edged in front of Oliver and now leads the Diamond Race. A lot is at stake and this event is heating up every week. Jason Richardson, Jeff Porter and Garfield Darien should ensure the favourites have more than the hurdles to worry about.
Women’s 100m Hurdles
Two of Jamaica’s leading female hurdlers in the Williams’ sisters will lead the Caribbean charge in the women’s 100m hurdles. Both will be hoping to register season best times in this event. The sisters could achieve this feat if Sharika Nelvis the third fastest woman over the barriers this season shows up in a good mood. Nelvis is coming off a stunning victory in an ill-fated 100m hurdles race in the Rome Diamond League.
Over sixteen events divided equally between both genders will take centre stage on an action packed Saturday. A number of Caribbean stars will parade their skills in the field events including Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards in the men’s shot put and Cuban triple jump sensation Pedro Pablo Pichardo who is expected to put on a jumping clinic. Pichardo’s battle with Will Claye of the US should be enthralling.
The Adidas Grand Prix meet represents the last competitive fixture for some top athletes from Jamaica and the United States two weeks before their Senior National trials. Several track pundits believe this meet will produce plenty fireworks from athletes nearing their peak. It should be a fantastic Saturday.
The meet schedule presented in Eastern Standard Time is as follows:
1:04 p.m. Men’s 400m Hurdles – (Michael Tinsley, Jehue Gordon, Bershawn Jackson, Jeffery Gibson, Annsert White, Javier Culson, LJ Van Zyl)
1:13 p.m. Women’s 3000m SteepleChase
1:25 p.m. Men’s Triple Jump (Will Claye, Pedro Pablo Pichardo)
1:31 p.m. Women’s 400m – (Stephenie Ann McPherson, Shaunae Miller, Francena McCorory, DeeDee Trotter, Novelene Williams-Mills, Christine Ohuruogu, Natasha Hastings)
1:37 p.m. Men’s 5000m
1:45 p.m. Men’s Shot Put (Ryan Whiting, O’Dayne Richards, Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh)
1:58p.m. Women’s 100m Hurdles (Cindy Billaud, Danielle Williams, Shermaine Williams, Lolo Jones, Sharika Nelvis, Tenaya Jones)
2:06 p.m. Adidas Women’s 200m (Kimberlyn Duncan, Sherone Simpson, Tori Bowie, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Anthonique Strachan, Tiffany Townsend)
2:16 p.m. Adidas Men’s 100m ( Trell Kimmons, Nickel Ashmeade, Tyson Gay, Nesta Carter, Keston Bledman, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Diondre Batson)
2:25 p.m. Women’s 800m (Brenda Martinez, Charlene Lipsey, Janeth Jepkosgei, Ajee Wilson, Chanelle Price, Jennifer Meadows)
2:36 p.m. Men’s 110m Hurdles (Jeff Porter, Jason Richardson, David Oliver, Aleec Harris, Orlando Ortega, Garfield Darien, Ronnie Ash, Ryan Wilson)
2:45 p.m. Adidas Men’s 800m (Matthew Centrowitz, Duane Solomon, David Rudisha, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, Leonel Manzano and Mark English)
2:54 p.m. BMW Men’s 200m (Charles Silmon, Alonso Edward, Warren Weir, Richard Thompson, Usain Bolt, Curtis Mitchell, Rasheed Dwyer)
** Please note Jamaica is an hour behind the U.S.A so adjust your schedule accordingly.
About the Author:
Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis is a very exciting and creative freelance sports writer specializing in the fields of athletics and cricket. His colourful down to earth yet professional personality makes him a favourite amongst athletes and fans. Readers are often exposed to his detailed knowledge and passion which usually increase their interest in the athletes, events and the sport overall. He has a first degree in Banking & Finance and works in the financial industry. Contact Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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