Preview 3 May 2012 – Kingston, Jamaica

Bolt and Blake the buzz in Kingston - PREVIEW - IAAF World Challenge

Michael Frater, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter of Jamaica celebrate victory and a World record in the men's 4x100 metres relay final  (Getty Images)Michael Frater, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter of Jamaica celebrate victory and a World record in the men's 4x100 metres relay final (Getty Images) © Copyright
Kingston, JamaicaThere is a buzz of anticipation surrounding Saturday evening’s Jamaica Invitational at the national stadium, an IAAF World Challenge meeting.

A number of World and Olympic champions and current world leaders led by double World record holder Usain Bolt and the youngest IAAF men’s World 100m champion Yohan Blake have been confirmed to take part in the meet, the first real serious showdown of the season.

Up to Thursday however the participation of former men’s 100m World Record holder Asafa Powell was still not clear.

Powell who ran the anchor leg on his MVP team’s 4x100m Relay that finished second to an Usain Bolt-led Racers team two weeks ago, had told reporters on Wednesday his groin injury suffered some years ago had been acting up and he was not sure he would run.

News had surfaced last week that Powell would compete in the 200m against Blake, the second fastest man over the distance ever with 19.26 seconds done last year.

Bolt had confirmed weeks ago he would be running his first 100m of the year on Saturday and while not making any predictions, had said he was working on improving his start.

Bolt who sensationally false started in the 100m final in Daegu last year, told reporters he was fully fit and was anxious to get the season started.

Blake ran a world leading 9.90 seconds in rainy and cold conditions at the UTech Classic three weeks ago and expectations are that Bolt should lower that time before moving on to the European circuit.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Beijing Olympic Games silver medalist Richard Thompson, Antiguan Daniel Bailey, IAAF World Indoors 60m silver medalist Nesta Carter, relay gold medalist Michael Frater and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Lerone Clarke are also slated to take part in the event.

In the absence of Powell, Blake’s competition should come from Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure and Jamaica’s World University games champion Rasheed Dwyer and Nickel Ashmeade who won the event last year.

World 200m leader American Carmelita Jeter will seek to defend her 100m title form last year and will have Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Bianca Knight, Kelly Ann Baptiste, Debbie Ferguson McKenzie as well as Olympic silver medallists Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson in what is expected to be one of the top races of the evening.

World female 400m season leader Sanya Richards Ross who is seeking her first Olympic individual gold medal, returns to the country of her birth and will seek to atone for a disappointing fifth place last year.

The Jamaica trio of Novlene Williams-Mills, Rosemarie Whyte and Kaliese Spencer who took the podium places last year are also expected to take part.

Canada’s Pricilla Lopes-Schllep who was second in Guadeloupe on Tuesday (1 May) in her first race back after giving birth will face former World champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Vonette Dixon and last year’s surprise winner Tiki James in the 100m Hurdles.

Reese has been one of the best female long jumpers in the world over the past two years and is coming off a win in the World Indoors and will come into the meet with a 7.12m world best. Americans Brianna Glenn and Janay Deloach as well as Jamaicans Jovanee Jarrett will also compete in the Long Jump.

Hoffa who has a world season leading 21.73m distance to his credit will be the class of the field in the Shot Put.

Paul Reid for the IAAF