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Track And Field
Who Will Make The Men's Team?
Not long from now, Jamaica's best will compete at the 2012 National Championships. In the four days from June 28 to July 1, they'll battle for places on our team to the Olympics and it's anybody's guess as to who will make it. Here's my guess for the men's team:
Men's 100m: Twenty Jamaicans have met the Olympic 'A' standard of 10.18 seconds since the qualifying period began in May 2011. The fastest three of 2012 - Olympic champion Usain Bolt, World Champion Yohan Blake and ex-world record holder Asafa Powell - are the only ones under 9.90 this season. That should be the team.
At his 9.78 best, World Indoor silver medal winner Nesta Carter can run right with those three, but his best this year is 'only' 10.05 seconds.
Men's 200m: There are 11 men who've gone past the 'A' standard of 20.55, led by Blake's remarkable run of 19.26 seconds in Brussels last year. Bolt is the World and Olympic champion and he and Blake should qualify comfortably. Many think improving Warren Weir will challenge Daegu finalist Nickel Ashmeade for third. Weir had moved into the picture with two personal bests in May, 20.21 and 20.19, and one more in New York, 20.08 seconds.
Since then, Ashmeade has sharpened his speed with a 100-metre lifetime mark of 9.93 seconds, and should just hold off Weir, World Student Games winner Rasheed Dwyer and in-form 2007 World finalist Marvin Anderson.
Men's 400m: Only two Jamaicans - Daegu fourth-place finisher Jermaine Gonzales and reigning national champion Riker Hylton - have the 'A' standard of 45.30 seconds. Fit and healthy now, Gonz should win his first national title. He's so fit that he's been able to run 20.79 seconds for 200 metres.
After Gonz, this race is wide open. 2005 winner Lansford Spence is over an early-season knee wobble and Edino Steele has run 20.58 and 45.78 this year.
The 44.54 man, Ricardo Chambers, returned from injury with a 45.71 at the Invitational. He clocked 45.82 last Saturday in New York. If he's at his best, he'll make it.
110-metre hurdles: World Student Games winner Hansle Parchment moved into contention when he lowered his personal best to 13.19 seconds at the Jamaica Invitational. Even though he crashed in New York, Parchment, defending champion Andrew Riley, and national record holder Dwight Thomas should be in the top three spots.
There are six Jamaicans who have made the 'A' standard of 13.52 seconds. That includes 2008 Olympic finalist Richard Phillips.
400-metre hurdles: There are five men under the 'A' in the 400m hurdles, led by Roxroy Cato. He's on the brink of breaking 49 seconds and is probably burning with desire. Last year, he was third and had the 'B' standard, but was dislodged from the team.
Isa Phillips made the 'A' standard late in the Daegu qualifying period and was selected even though he lost to Cato at the Nationals. Forty-year-old superhero Danny McFarlane is one of this fast five. A top-three finish will see him through to his fourth Olympic Games.
Reigning champion Leford Green hasn't looked good in 2012, while Josef Robertson seems to be on the right road.
Men's discus: All hail Jason Morgan and Traves Smikle, who have the Olympic 'A' and 'B' standards, respectively at 65.61 and 64.03 metres. With NCAA winner Chad Wright at 62.79, this will be the best Jamaican Championship discus ever.
Men's shot put: Dorian Scott has been Jamaica's best for years, but injury, surgery and job commitments have kept him out of the ring for a while. In his absence, Odayne Richards has won the World Student Games and recently met the Olympic 'B' standard with a lifetime best of 20.13 metres.
Men's long jump: Damar Forbes made the 'A' last year with a mark of 8.23 metres. He has leapt 8.13 this year.
Decathlon: Maurice Smith hasn't regained his sizzling 2007 form, but made the 'A' standard of 8,200 points last year.
Canada-based Ricky West could reach the 800-metre 'B' standard of one minute 46.30 seconds. Currently, he is 0.11 seconds away.
- Hubert Lawrence has covered athletics since 1987.