The quest for Moscow 2013 glory has official began for the men of Racers Track Club (Racers). The start of training camp two weeks ago for Olympic champion Usain Bolt and his training partner Yohan ‘the Beast’ Blake signal the start of a new season. With Bolt and Blake ending the 2012 season ranked no.1 and no.2 in the 100m and the 200m respectively, and with the Jamaican men sweeping the 200m at the London 2012 Olympics, the future seems bright for Jamaican sprinters.
Based on their past performances, their youth and the fact that there is room for improvement, Bolt and Blake should continue to dominate the sprints. The upcoming season should offer lots of excitement and sub-plots headlined by the collision of the two heavyweights as Blake attempts to defend his 100m world championship crown (Daegu 2011) and Bolt set to recapturing his 100m world championship title (Berlin 2009), which he lost to Blake, after false starting in Daegu.
The most intriguing question for the upcoming season is “Who will emergence as the no. 3 in the men’s 100m and 200m?
Up for Grabs
The 2012 season saw the emergence of American sprinter Ryan Bailey (9.85), Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole (9.97) and Cayman Island’s Kemar Hyman (9.95). The trio should be added to the mix for the no. 3 spot in the 100m, along with veterans Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Keston Bledsman among others. The competition for the no. 3 spot will likely spur Bolt and Blake to run even faster. And as Gatlin eloquently stated last season “You don’t train to finish 2nd”. But Bolt and Blake based on their recent performances seem a cut above the competition. In our estimation, the no. 3 spot in the men’s 100m the 2013 season is up for grabs.
However one cannot help but admire the potential of the Jamaicans to have a stronghold on the men’s 200m for years to come.
Will Weir Prevail?
Twenty-two year old Warren Weir who capped bronze in the 200m at the London Olympics behind Bolt (19.32) and Blake (19.44) may have established himself as the clear no.3 when he ran a personal best 19.84 seconds. However, Weir no. 3 position seems threatened by a duo of hunger and talent Jamaicans in Nickel Ashmeade (19.85) and Jason Young (19.86).
Ashmeade, Yohan Blake high school teammate at St Jago High has been a consistent sub-20 200m performer over the past two seasons and was favored to make the Jamaican Olympic team. At the 2012 Jamaican Trials, Ashmeade finished in 4th place behind Blake, Bolt and Weir, and was denied making the Jamaican Olympic team as only the top-3 was selected. By winning the 2012 men’s 200m Diamond League crown, Ashmeade is an automatic qualifier for the 2013 Moscow World Championship.
Heading into the 2013 season, Weir has to be given the edge over Ashmeade as he will be training with whom he consider the “gods of track of track field”, namely Bolt and Blake. Also, we cannot underestimate the fact that Weir is coached by Glen Mills, who is considered the best sprint coach on the planet. Ashmeade has room for improvement as he is coached by Lance Bauman, who is also an excellent coach. The sky is the limit for Weir who in our estimation will improve on his personal best time of 19.84 seconds this upcoming season.
A Focused Jason Young can be a Threat
Perhaps, Weir greatest challenge this season for the no. 3 spot will be in the form of fellow Racers teammate Jason Young. Young performed sporadically during the 2012 season due to his academic obligation as a full-time student at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Young failed to qualified for the 200m finals at the 2012 Jamaican Trials, but went on to drop a personal best time 19.86 seconds in Lucerne in July and went on to end his 2012 season on a high note with a few impressive performances. Coach Mills who also coaches Young had pointed out that he was not surprised by Young’s late season performances. Young, if focused and fully committed to track will posed a serious threat to Weirs’ no. 3 spot. However, Weir having tasted the success at the London Olympics in our estimation should hold off Young.
Other competitors in the mix for the no.3 spot are the Netherland’s Martina Churandy (19.85) and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre (19.80) who despite having an average 2012 season has the capability to become a legitimate contender in 2013.
Any New Challengers?
With each new season, there is always the likelihood for new stars to emerge. With the exception of the raw talent of Britain’s Adam Gemili and American Tyreek Hill, there is no forecasted sprinter on the horizon that is likely to challenge the Jamaican men in the 200m. However, each season the NCAA has always produced star sprinters who go on to do well in international competition at the end of the collegiate season. Case in point, Richard Thompson (Trinidad) winning the silver medal in the 100m at the 2008 Beijing Olympic, fresh out of LSU. Despite facing fierce competition this upcoming season, Weir should be able to hold onto his no. 3 spot.
The men from Racers seem poised to continue their dominance in the sprints, which is reminiscence of the Santa Monica Track Club of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. However, the men from Racers are taking their sprinting dominance to a whole new level.