(Jamaica Observer) Jamaica’s double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads nine other Jamaicans, including Omar McLeod, Hansle Parchment, Asafa Powell and Elaine Thompson, into action at the PreFontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, USA, today.
Fraser-Pryce, who missed three previous engagements due to a toe injury, will line up against Americans Carmelita Jeter, Barbara Pierre, English Gardner and Tianna Bartoletta; Murielle Ahour of the Ivory Coast; Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor of Nigeria and fellow Jamaican, Simone Facey.
It will be Fraser-Pryce’s first 100m of the season and she will want to put down a marker for the rest of the world to see that she is back. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ will have to contend with a high-quality field of the improving Pierre and old rivals Jeter and Okagbare-Ighoteguonor.
Facey, with a seasonal best of 11.00 seconds, is the fastest in the field this season, but actually has the slowest personal best of 10.95 seconds in the race.
Jamaica’s former world record holder, Powell lines up in a very interesting 100m race where he will face his great American rivals Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers and the emerging Andre De Grasse of Canada and Femi Ogunode of Qatar and Ameer Webb of the USA. China’s Su Bingtian, who has a personal best of 9.99 seconds, completes the field.
Jamaica’s in form 110m hurdler Omar McLeod and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment will be hoping to continue their good form when they take on a powerful field, including world record holder Aries Merritt, who is returning to form. Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, David Oliver and Jarret Eaton of the US will make this one a humdinger.
McLeod has won everything in front of him this season and should continue his dominance as he continues to take aim at Parchment’s Jamaican record of 12.94 seconds. McLeod has already clocked 12.98.
Meanwhile, in a mouth-watering 200m, Jamaica’s Thompson, who will be running her first 200m of the season, will come face to face with Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers, and Americans Tori Bowie, Kimberlyn Duncan, Candyce McGrone and Jenna Prandini in what should be a hotly contested race. Bowie is the world leader in the 100m with 10.80, and has a 200m seasonal best of 22.26 seconds.
World champion Schippers has been in good form, clocking a world-leading 22.02 on Sunday and will be hard to deny. But Thompson has looked awesome over the 100m and it is expected to be a close fight to the end.
Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and Stephenie McPherson line up in a world class women’s 400m field of Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas; and Americans Sanya Richards-Ross, Francena McCorory, Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer and Quanera Hayes.
National 400m record holder Rusheen McDonald, who has a seasonal best of 45.90 seconds, may have bitten off more than he can chew at this point in a tough race, including American Lashawn Merritt, Kirani James of Grenada, Youssef Masrahi of Saudi Arabia, Isaac Makwala of Botswana and Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio.
Jamaica’s World Championship shot put bronze medallist, O’Dayne Richards, will be in a top-class field of Americans Joe Kovacs and Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting and Tom Walsh, Poland’s Tomasz Majewski and Tim Nedow of Canada.
– Howard Walker