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Track And Field
Blanket finish expected in 100 hurdles
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
At any track and field championships there are certain events where it is going to be very difficult to predict the winners. When action starts at the World Championships in Berlin this weekend, there are three events among the women which are likely to go down to the wire.
Interestingly, Jamaica is involved in all three - the 100 metres, 100 metres hurdles and 800 metres.
Undoubtedly the most com-petitive here will be the 100 metres hurdles, as any of the eight finalists can finish in the top three.
No one athlete has dominated this very technical event this year, and one mistake can make a major difference.
That fact came home in Beijing last year when the United States' Lolo Jones blundered where it mattered most and failed to finish among the medals after being the overwhelming favourite.
There will be no Jones this time around but her country will be well represented with four athletes - defending champion Michelle Perry, Damu Cherry, Dawn Harper and Virginia Powell - facing the starters in the first round.
Jamaica will also be well represented as Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Delloreen Ennis-London and Lacena Golding-Clarke will carry the country's hopes.
Canada, with Priscilla Lopez-Schliep and Perdita Felecien, and Australia with Sally McLellan are the other top hurdlers in what is expected to be a thriller.
Unfortunately, a medal contender will not be in the final eight as it will be so competitive to advance.
Six of these ladies have gone sub-12.6 seconds this season, with McLellan leading the way with 12.50 seconds done in Monaco.
The other athletes under the 12.6 seconds barrier are Lopez-Schliep (12.51), Harper (12.53), Cherry (12.53) , Felecian (12.54), and Foster-Hylton (12.57). Ennis London is on the brink of going faster, having run 12.60 seconds this year.
Perry, who will be seeking her third title in a row, has a season best of 12.74 seconds but cannot be left out of contention.
After just making it from the United States National Champion-ships last year, Harper created a major upset by winning in Beijing, and although she looked out of shape, in her last race this season she could use her strong finish to her advantage and capture another major medal.
The Canadians could also create history for their country with two medals in the event, as Schliep is in the form of her life and was impressive in Stokholm while Felecien, a former World champion, is now fully fit.
Jamaica's best medal hopes will come from Foster-Hylton and Ennis-London, who will both be trying for their third medal at these championships in what is expected to be their final sojourn.
Indeed, this event should keep spectators on the edge of their seats as it will take a brave pundit to find the winner here. The competition will be so fierce and close it could come down to the person who gets out of the blocks the fastest and makes the least mistakes.
Whatever separates the athletes, we could witness one of the greatest finishes in the history of the 100 metres hurdles at the World Championships.