Perhaps it is because this is an Olympic year, where all the athletes are placing a premium on training, preparing and working out the kinks in their quest for London 2012 glory. Could it be because the Jamaican athletes are not in peak form as yet? Could it because the Jamaican International Invitational is scheduled for next week (May 5th) in Kingston, Jamaica? Whatever the reason, the Jamaica’s elite athletes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, VCB and company did not make the trip to Franklin Field. In a packed stadium with close to 49,000 mostly Jamaican fans, including Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, the Jamaica teams failed to impress.
Sprint Medley Team Always Set the Tone
In the past three years, team Jamaica had set the tone by capturing the first event, the women’s sprint medley, and Jamaican fans were used to having 800m specialist Kenia Sinclair on the anchor. Yesterday, Sinclair was replaced by Korine Hinds, who was unable to repel the challenges of the USA Blue who won the event in 3:42.85, ahead of Great Britain (3:43.72). The Jamaican quartet of Aneisha McLaughlin, Aleen Bailey, Melaine Walker and Hinds finished 3rd in 3:45.79.
Sprinters Missing in Action
The Jamaican men’s and women’s sprint relay teams could only manage 3rd and 2nd behind victorious USA Red and Blue teams. The men’s 4×1 team of Nesta Carter, Marvin Anderson, Lerone Clarke and Oshane Bailey ran 38.98 seconds for third behind the USA Red (38.40) and USA Blue (38.47). The Racers Track team holds the world-leading time of 37.82 seconds. Asafa Powell was at Franklin Field yesterday but he did not compete.
The women’s 4X1 team of Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Aleen Bailey and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished in 2nd place (43.31) behind the USA Red team (42.19).
4×4 Relay Teams
The men’s 4×4 team of Dean Hyatt, Jermaine Gonzales, Allodin Fothergill and Dwayne Barrett finished 4th in a season best 3:03.28 behind the USA Red (3:00.15), Bahamas (3:00.56) and USA Blue (3:03.13).
The women’s 4×4 team of Sherika Williams, Novlene Williams-Mills, Sophie Smellie and Kaliese Spencer finished in 2nd place in 3:26.55 behind the USA Red team (3:21.18 -McCorory, Felix, Hastings and Richards-Ross)
The poor showing of the Jamaican athletes is not a true indication of future performances in London 2012. All athletes know what is at stake this year. The Jamaican athletes may not have shown up in Philadelphia yesterday, but be assured that despite the weather or other factors; they will be ready for London 2012.