By Noel 'Bravo' Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
The Jamaica International Invitational Meet on Saturday May 9th, 2015, should provide an electrifying atmosphere with lots of entertainment throughout the night. Two events that could produce high drama inside the National Stadium are the women’s and men’s quarter-mile races. Fans can expect a number of season and perhaps personal best performances at the end of both events.
Here are the previews:
The women’s quarter-mile has been one of the most competitive events at the World Championships in recent memory with different winners sharing the spoils in the past three competitions. Unlike the shorter sprints, no one athlete has really dominated for any sustained period. This year, it is as close as ever which makes all the 400m events among the ladies a mouth-watering affair.
Track fans get the chance to see a World Championship mock exam at the National Stadium with current Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross, reigning World Champion Christine Ohuruogu alongside Francena McCorory, the World Indoor 400m champion coming face to face. The Jamaican flavour will come from perennial national champion Novelene Williams-Mills, Kaliese Spencer and the consistent Stephenie-Ann McPherson. At the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 25, 2015, McCorory scored a confidence boosting win over Richards-Ross and Williams-Mills in a world leading time of 50.13 seconds.
Can anyone defeat defending meet champion McCorory this year? Some fast times are expected from this all-star field. This event is scheduled to run off at 9:14 p.m.
High drama is certainly in store for track fans who love the men’s quarter-mile event. This season, with the exception of Grenada’s outstanding Kirani James, the other quarter-milers around the world are bunched up within the same time range which makes the races among them very exciting and competitive.
World Champion LaShawn Merrit’s presence is now a feature at this meet as he continues his build up to defend his title in Beijing. He will be joined by the ‘Arabian Rolls Royce’ – Yousef Masrahi and Isaac ‘Badman’ Makwala, the African record-holder at 400m from Botswana. Makwala, who once trained in Jamaica with the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, lists Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt as his two biggest rivals. He has a personal best of 44.01 seconds.
The interest of the local fans will be heightened when former high school standout Javon ‘Donkey Man’ Francis who missed last season due to injury, gets an opportunity and some real competition. This season, the lion-hearted Francis has been running like a free spirited stallion and with his courage and competitive nature; great things await this young man. He registered almost identical relay splits (44.00) on anchor in the 4x400m heats and finals at the recent IAAF World Relays. Francis is fully fit and ready to gallop.
The colourful 2012 Olympic silver and 2013 World Championship bronze medallist from the Dominican Republic, Luguelin Santos and Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee will add spunk to this stellar line-up.
National junior record-holder Akeem Bloomfield (44.93) who suffered a hamstring strain at the Penn Relays will miss this event to get ample time to recover for either the National Senior trials in June or make a calculated long-term decision and shut down his season until next year with the World Junior Championship and Olympic games coming up. Bloomfield has the luxury of youth and time on his side. This massive race will go off at 9:25 p.m.