KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sporting Alert – Usain Bolt will lead an elite group of world-class athletes at the inaugural Jamaica National Racers Grand Prix – IAAF Area Permit meet – at the National Stadium in Kingston, on Saturday.
The six-time Olympic champion head the list of stars for the meeting, with fellow sprint icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Carmelita Jeter, LaShawn Merritt, Wayde Van Niekerk, David Oliver, Shaunae Miller, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake all down to compete as well.
Bolt, who has been somewhat quiet in the season so far, will take on a very strong field in the men’s 100m, with Powell and Blake set to face the world record holder in the event.
So far this season, Bolt has competed in two 100m dash – clocking 10.05 at the Cayman Invitational on May 14, and then his season’s best 9.98 at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, six days later.
The sprint legend, who said last month that he is in pretty good shape to run in the 9.8s in his opening two meets, before failing to live up to the billing, believes he’s in an even better place to run a fast time on Saturday, as he seeks to challenge the 9.86 world-leading mark posted by France’s Jimmy Vicaut this week.
Former world record holder Asafa Powell, who owns a wind-legal seasonal best of 10.01, is eager to take on Bolt, as he seeks to test himself against the world’s fastest man.
Powell is also wanting to make up for his performance at the Prefontaine Classic (9.94w), where a faulty microphone cost him a better time.
Yohan Blake, the double Olympic silver medallist from London 2012, has been slowly building towards his Olympic campaign and his two previous outings in the 100m thus far this season have produced times of 9.95 and 10.03.
Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole, Akani Simbine of South Africa are also set to lineup in the event.
Meanwhile, 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce has been struggling this season with a toe injury, but she hopes to recover in time for the Jamaica National Championships, which starts later this month.
And after a string of disappointing performances, including the last place finish at the PreClassic, and meeting withdrawals, Saturday’s Racers Grand Prix is the ideal meet for the Caribbean sprint queen to bounce back.
Fraser-Pryce is expected to be tested by American 2011 world champion Carmelita Jeter, her compatriot and world indoor 60m gold medal winner Barbara Pierre, as well as Jamaicans Jura Levy, Samantha Henry-Robinson and Remone Burchell and Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago.
World 400m champion Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa and American LaShawn Merritt will lineup in a rare 300m dash, while Jamaica’s 100m hurdles world champion Danielle Williams will take on a host of Americans in her speciality.
The action in the field events should also be interesting, especially in the women’s high jump where USA’s Chaunte Lowe, the second highest jumper this season, taking on St. Lucia’s Lavern Spencer and Jeanelle Scheper.
The Racers Grand Prix meet gets underway at 7:00 pm ET (6pm local time), with the men’s 100m set for 10:30 ET.