Hansle Parchment (r) on the way to his victory over Andrew Riley at Jamaican trials (Anthony Foster) © Copyright
On Friday (29) night, Blake ran a personal best and became the fourth fastest man ever over 100m, with 9.75, to hand Bolt (9.86) his first defeat - in a race he finished- in almost two years. It was a very fast and tense final, which also saw Asafa Powell dropping a 9.88.
That however, only served to set the stage for another mouthwatering clash, especially since two other sub-20 seconds men, Nickel Ashmeade and Warren Weir, are trying to secure a spot to London.
Glen Mills, coach of both Bolt and Blake, remarked, "Just running to qualify is the aim for Blake. After his intensive race (Friday night) he is going to try and take it easy."
But based on Saturday’s semi-finals, where Blake jogged 19.93 and Bolt, a little less impressive in 20.26, Weir, who broke 20 seconds for the first time with 19.99 and Ashmeade 20.15, will add to this men’s 200m final, which also includes Marvin Anderson and Nesta Carter and shall guarantee it to be very hot.
The women’s event is also expected to sizzle, especially since Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is in the shape of her life and Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the darlings of Jamaica’s track & field, is trying to run her way to three consecutive Olympic crowns.
In the semi-finals, Fraser-Pryce, who ran a Jamaican 100m record 10.70 on Friday to become the fourth fastest woman of all-time, leads the finalists with 22.55 over Campbell-Brown's 22.79.
Anneisha McLaughin, who ran 22.83 to beat Kerron Stewart 22.96 in semi-final 2, Sherone Simpson 22.66, and Samantha Henry-Robinson 22.83, will add more fire to the final, which could take sub-22 seconds to win.
Also on Sunday is th women’s 400m final with Novlene Williams-Mills, Rosemarie Whyte and Shericka Williams, along with the men’s event, which will have Jermaine Gonzales, Dane Hyatt and the leader going in, Rasheed McDonald.
In some finals from Saturday, Traves Smikle threw a Olympic A standard of 67.12m in the discus, to beat national record holder Jason Morgan (61.93m). Both will represent Jamaica in London, a first for the country.
A star was born in Hansle Parchment, when he ran his way into recognition this year and took the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.18, just ahead of NCAA champion Andrew Riley (13.19) and Richard Phillips (13.43).
In the 800m, Kenia Sinclair the national record holder and defending champion, retained her crown with victory in 2:01.55 and qualified for her second Olympics. Althea Chambers was second in 2:03.40.
In the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Korene Hinds with 9:46.46 took top honours over Mardrea Hyman (10:10.06).
Elsewhere, Natalie Grant won the women’s Hammer Throw with 57.39m, Zara Northover the women’s Shot Put with 16.42m, Demar Forbes the men’s Long Jump with 7.89m and Darrell Garwood the men’s High Jump with 2.14m.
Anthony Foster for the IAAF
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