JAM (Jamaican) TRACK AND FIELD 2020 OLYMPICS PERSPECTIVE

 

 

 

 

Summer Olympics 2020 is Jul 24 – Aug 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. This is the every four years replay of the Grandfather of Track and Field competition. This is a necessary event, once every four years but on an even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) number ending year on the calendar. The World Championships is once every four years but on an odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) number ending year on the calendar.

Anyone wishing to be documented as an excellent athlete, Male and Female, competing in this event is required. If you own a bag with Track shoes inside, athletic  equipment, and have been hibernating in 2017 and 2018; 2019 is the time to wake up.

With respect to Jamaican Track and Field, I am expecting significant improvement since World Championships 2017, Commonwealth Games 2018, and NACAC Championships 2018. Tongue in cheek, any performance not indicative of maintenance or improvement will raise the Ire of Jamaican Track and Field fans, prompting sentiments of disappointment.

Track and Field is the ultimate excitement in Athletics but the performer must be in shape. Let us look at how athletes on a watch list are performing and positioning for the event.

FEMALE: Natoya Goule, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Remona Burchell, Gayon Evans, Elaine Thompson, Tovea Jenkins, Stephanie-Ann McPherson, Aisha Praught – Leer, Rushell Burton, Jeanine Williams, Shanieka Rickets, Kimberly Williams, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Tiffany James, and Anastasia Leroy.

Natoya Goule is a star. I anticipate improvement and a good performance in the 800 Meters. The competition will be fierce but she has the ability to earn a medal. It is refreshing to see an athlete step away and establish a new frontier.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a Vanguard of Jamaican Female Track and Field. I wish her well in 2020. I thought she would retire after Olympics 2016. Obviously, she missed the stage. Her early performances look good but I think the results of Olympics 2016 said a lot. We all hoped she was victorious in the 2016 Olympics by winning the Women’s 100M a third consecutive time but that did not happen.

Remona Burchell has potential that could surface in Olympics 2020. Based on her accolades I expect competitive performance. Her challenge is can she run faster than 11.03 seconds for the 100M.

Gayon Evans has potential specifically in the 200M. Perhaps she should focus on that event. 23.18 seconds is a good time. If she can run faster than 23.0, she will be a contender.

Elaine Thompson has proven that she is excellent athlete. She will always be a force to reckon with as long as she is in good health. Her performance in Rio 2016 was exceptional. She is one of the few Female athletes who can run the 100M with regularity, in less than 11.00 seconds. She has also proven that she can run the 200M in less than 22.00 seconds. Overall, I expect her to perform well in Olympics 2020. No athlete is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs the distance in less than 11.0 seconds.

Tovea Jenkins while I have not seen or heard much about her recently, this is perhaps her final chance to prove herself as a competitor in the 400M.

Stephanie-Ann McPherson is still near the top of the 400M runners list. This might be her final quest for Olympic stardom.

Aisha Praught-Leer should improve on her 2018 Commonwealth Games accomplishments. I expect strong performances in all or whichever event she decides to run.

Rushell Burton will continue to improve in 100M Hurdles. I expect her to be competitive.

Jeanine Williams will be a force to reckon with in the hurdles. She should focus on that event. The 100 meter will be a challenge. There is a possibility she might earn a spot on the 4×100 meter relay team. She is the epitome of a Student Athlete.

Shanieka Rickets should do well in the Triple Jump. I expect improvement since the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Championships.

 Kimberly Williams is an excellent Triple Jump athlete. However, the Olympics and World Championships have not seen her best performances. Perhaps, 2020 will be the year. The fans certainly hope so.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd is ready to take her performance to another level. I expect improvement since 2018 Commonwealth Games. The competition will be fierce but I think she can win.

Tiffany James should be ready to step away from the shadows of relay competition. It would be interesting to see if she can handle performing as an individual in the 400M. Performance at the junior level is recognized but the Olympics stage is more challenging.

Anastasia Leroy has exhibited solid performances and has additional potential that should be realized in Olympics 2020. For Anastasia the time is now and I anticipate a strong performance.

MALE: Yohan Blake, Everton Clarke, Kimmari Roach, Omar McLeod, Javon Francis, Steven Gayle, Ronald Levy, Demar Forbes, Clive Pullen, O’Dayne Richards, Andre Clarke, Jermaine Gayle, Peter Matthews, and Rusheen McDonald.

Yohan Blake did not have a good outing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Olympics 2020 is definitely time for Yohan Blake to perform at his best in the 100M and 200M. The stage is set for Yohan to have solid performances. There is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. At some point between Training and competing, the body gets tired even if the brain does not. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. Suffice to say, no athlete is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs the distance in less than 10.0 seconds.

Everton Clarke with a Personal Best of 10.08 for the 100M and 20.45 for the 200M should see Olympics 2020 as a venue to achieve. I hope he makes the Team. His Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was strong. Olympics 2020 will make or break the career of many athletes. That is true for both Male and Female. Everton Clarke is one of those athletes. Heads up the Africans are getting better.

Kimmari Roach with a Personal Best of 10.12 for the 100M showed promise in 2014. Since then I have not seen much. If he is still active, now is the time for him to stand and be counted.

Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances have created renewed interest in the 110M Hurdles. The 110M Hurdles is an event in which Jamaican Athletes can excel. Until Omar is defeated at the Olympics, he owns that event. He was the first from Jamaica to win the event on that stage but he knows there will be others. For now, let him enjoy the fame and fortune. It is time to get ready for Olympics 2020. I am 100 percent behind him and support his consideration of the 400M Hurdles.

Javon Francis appears to be staying in shape. Staying in shape will prevent a repeat of this kind of performance. Will 2020 be the year he talks to the man in the mirror? Will 2020 be the year he rebounds?

Steven Gayle showed promise in 2017 but in 2018, he appeared to falter. Perhaps, there was something lacking in his training regiment. I hope the matter is resolved and he will return rejuvenated.

Ronald Levy is an Athlete with the best potential to challenge Omar McLeod. He has excellent technique and speed. At age 27, he is at his prime for the 110M Hurdles. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate he is a superior athlete in that event.

Demar Forbes if still active should be competitive in the Long Jump. The 2020 Olympics, is definitely the year for him to demonstrate his capability in that event.

Clive Pullen if still active should be competitive in the Triple Jump (Hop Skip and Jump).

O’Dayne Richards should be competitive in the shot put and discus throw. Even at age 32, he should be able to give a good account of himself in both events. Along with Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle, the Men’s Field events squad should Medal at Olympics 2020.

Andre Clarke if still active should be competitive in the 400M Hurdles. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, this event is up for grabs at Olympics 2020. Anyone from anywhere can win.

Jermaine Gayle still has time to come in from the cold. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints. Accumulation of Lactic Acid affects performance on the Track.

Peter Matthews if still active should be competitive in the 400M sprint. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, if he improves on his Personal Best of 44.69 he is heading in the right direction.

Rusheen McDonald if still active should be competitive in the 400M sprint. Regardless of any performances I have not seen, if he improves on his Personal Best of 43.93 he should make the Team.

Team Jamaica grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Men:

Event     Analysis                                        Grade

100 M – Need Improvement –                       C

200 M – Need Improvement –                       C

400 M – Need Improvement –                       C

800 M – Need much Improvement –             D

1500 M– Need much Improvement –            D

Long Jump – Need Improvement –                B

Triple Jump – Need much Improvement –   D

High Jump – Need much Improvement –      F

Hurdles 110 M – Excellent –                             A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –                              A

Discus – Excellent –                                             A+

Shot Put – Good –                                                  B

Javelin – Need much Improvement –               F

4 × 100 meters relay – Need Improvement –   C

4 × 400 meters relay – Need Improvement –   C

Team Jamaica grade by Event and expectations at Olympics 2020:

Women:

Event     Analysis                                            Grade

100 M – Need Improvement –                           C

200 M – Need Improvement –                           C

400 M – Need Improvement –                           B

800 M – Excellent –                                               A

1500 M – Need much Improvement –               D

Long Jump – Need Improvement –                    B

Triple Jump – Excellent –                                     A+

High Jump – Need much Improvement –         F

Hurdles 100 M – Excellent –                                A+

Hurdles 400 M – Excellent –                                A

Discus – Need much Improvement –                 D

Shot Put – Need much Improvement –              D

Javelin – Need much Improvement –                 F

4 × 100 meters relay – Excellent –                        A+

4 × 400 meters relay – Excellent –                        A+

Team Jamaica is looking good leading up to Olympics 2020. However, there is much work to be done. Women are doing better than Men. Field events have new Life. Team Jamaica Track and Field landscape is poised for a changing of the Guard, if not before Olympics 2020, certainly immediately after.

TOKYO 2020-2 LOGO

 

LFT

TAKE AWAY FROM COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018 – AUSTRALIA

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It seems to me, that Jamaicans should be proud of the performance. The team placed 11TH out of 43 teams with 27 Medals in total – 7 Gold, 9 Silver, and 11 Bronze. See the Final performance results. Not too shabby for an Island Nation.

Previously I said, “I am expecting improvement in the Field events such as Long Jump, Triple Jump (Hop, Skip, and Jump), Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, Hammer throw, and High Jump.” Oops, it happened.

Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle won gold and silver respectively for Jamaica in the men’s discus. Kimberly Williams won gold in the Triple Jump. Shanieka Ricketts won silver in the Triple Jump. Danniel Thomas-Dodd won gold in the Women’s Shot Put. Aisha Praught-Leer won gold in Women’s 3000 meters steeplechase. Alia Atkinson won silver in the 50 meters breaststroke. The Net Ball team won Bronze.

Clearly significant improvement in Field events, since World Championship 2017. I am impressed with the wealth of Talent on the Female side of the Jamaican Track and Field Ledger. Perhaps, that will get the Male athletes to step up. Very soon, I expect the Men to step forward with stellar performance in Field events.

The Hurdles event has caught on. Ronald Levy won gold in the 110M hurdles. Janieve Russell won gold in the 400M hurdles. Hansle Parchment won silver in the 110M hurdles. Danielle Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. Jaheel Hyde won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters hurdles. Yanique Thompson won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters hurdles. My expectation is that it will require less effort to improve the performance in Hurdling than it will for additional improvement in Field events. I am wondering who will start throwing the Javelin – someone, anyone, Male or Female. It is a unisex sport.

Shericka Jackson continues to shine and won silver in the Women’s 200 meters. Anastasia Le-Roy won silver in the Women’s 400 meters. Christania Williams won silver in the Women’s 100 meters. Gayon Evans won bronze in the Women’s 100 meters. Javon Francis won bronze in the Men’s 400 meters. Natoya Goule won bronze in the Women’s 800 meters. Natoya Goule is someone to keep an eye on moving forward. Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters. Women’s 4 × 100 meters relay quartet won silver. Men’s 4 × 100 meters relay won bronze. Men’s 4 × 400 meters relay won bronze. Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay won gold.

That Yohan Blake won bronze in the Men’s 100 meters and Elaine Thompson did not have a good outing by her standards, is cause for concern. There is only so much continuous running in the legs of a Professional sprinter. Yohan Blake might be approaching that point. I think he participates in the 2020 Olympics and then retire. It might be a good idea for Elaine Thompson to switch camp and work with Glen Mills.

The people responsible for training the Women’s 4 × 400 meters relay team is doing a great job. Over the years that quartet, mix or match, has been competitive or dominant. Perhaps, they should be commissioned to recruit Male athletes to run the 400M exclusively. The 400M race needs new stars. Until there is discovery, nurturing, and development of at least three (3) consistent 400M sprinters, lack of significant representation in the Men’s 400M race will be obvious. Excellent performance in the 400M event will require men who will consistently run between 43.01 and 44.5 and women who will consistently run between 48.0 and 49.4. This is a serious challenge. The 400M race is the most exhausting of the sprints.

Having said the above, what are my expectations for the Olympics in 2020? I have none now. It is too early to speculate. I am confident they will take home some Hardware from Olympics 2020.The results from Commonwealth Games 2018 are impressive. Congrats to the entire team!!!

Performance in the Diamond League will determine Olympic 2020 readiness. I think there will be a changing of the Guard in the Sprint events. There is unlikely to be replacements for Usain and Shelly-Ann by 2020. If you considered Usain – Yohan and Elaine- Shelly-Ann One-Two punches, until proven otherwise I have not seen that male or female athlete. I have not seen another Male athlete capable of running sub 10.0 seconds or a Female athlete capable of running sub 11.0 seconds for the 100M. Yohan Blake and Elaine Thompson have demonstrated they can. However, based on recent performances, they are required to prove they still can.

Warning: no one is winning the Men’s 100M in 2020 unless he runs sub 10.0 seconds. No one is winning the Women’s 100M in 2020 unless she runs sub 11.0 seconds. You can put that in the Retirement Fund.

LFT

JAMAICANFLAG WAVING

COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018

commonwealth games 2018 logo

 

The list of Countries scheduled to participate in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, tell a story. Well, at least to a History buff. Do you reflect on the significance of that list? Probably not but this is a list of Countries that remain loyal to England. However, this is not a moment to dwell on that History. The focus is Jamaica consistent with Track and Field expectations for the Games in Australia April 4th to April 15th, 2018.

Previously I mentioned take away from world championships 2017. I said that Nathon Allen emerged as the class of the Jamaican 400 M pool of athletes when he ran 44.19. Demish Gaye ran 44.55, which is respectable time for the 400 M. Both athletes had some work to do but they are capable.

Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances created renewed interest in the 110 M Hurdles. Until Omar is defeated at the Olympics or does not compete in the Finals in 2020, he owns that event. Elaine Thompson stumbled out of the blocks and as such had a minor slip in her career. It did not appear to be serious. Until Elaine is defeated at the Olympics or does not compete in the Finals in 2020, she will be the favorite in the 100M and 200M events. However, it is time to focus on Commonwealth Games April 4th to April 15th, 2018. So “Wah Gwaan” Jamaica.

The Holidays are over and now it is time to run off the libation. Amidst the expected preparations, there is talk that some Jamaican athletes have or considering switching allegiance. I take exception to the characterization that because Winston Barnes, Jacques Harvey, Shericka Williams, Andrew Fisher, and Kemarley Brown are considering taking their talent elsewhere that they are switching allegiance. This is an amazing moment. If you recall in a previous article I said the following:

“The Era of Speed Merchants has begun. Men and Women who can run fast become Speed Merchants. Equally important, persons will migrate and some will change Nationality in pursuit of their Sprint dream. They will become Track and Field Mercenaries.

I was the one in 2006 who dared to stake claim regarding the potential, capabilities, and abilities of the Jamaican Track and Field athlete. Therefore, since Jamaica might only select three or four persons to represent the Nation for each event, there will be individuals who will feel disenfranchised. As a result, Athletes will seek inclusion by migrating and Countries will recruit them in search of Track and Field stardom. Countries will recruit Speed Merchants. Every Nation will seek strong representation in the Men and Women sprints at World Events.

There will be an Olympics in this Century, sooner than later, where all Eight (8) or Nine (9) Finalist in the Men 100 M will be of Jamaican extract of one form or another. They will be Jamaican by birth or of Jamaican parentage and representing multiple countries including Jamaica. Take note that Jessica Ennis is of Jamaican parentage.

If all Eight (8) or Nine (9) men in an Olympics 100 m Final are of Jamaican extract representing multiple countries and Jamaica is not represented, that would be tragic for the JAAA but also Jamaica. However, the preferred scenario will be multiple countries represented including Jamaica. Do not assume that the Athlete representing Jamaica will win.” Remember Ben Johnson is Jamaican but he represented Canada. Linford Christie is Jamaican but he represented Great Britain.

What are the expectations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games? Who are the athletes on the Track and in the Field that will represent the Sprint Nation? Where is Martin Manley? Excluding Visa issues, I expect all athletes from Olympics 2016 to represent the nation, except Usain and Shelly-Ann.

This is definitely time for Yohan Blake to perform at his best in the 100M and 200M. With Usain Bolt Retired, the stage is set for Yohan to have solid performances in the Commonwealth Games 2018 and Olympics 2020. Unless, Zharnel Hughes is the real deal. I do not think he is but I will keep watching. Seems to me Zharnel was leaning for the tape and not running through it in his face-to-face with Yohan. Akeem Bloomfield is someone to watch in the 200M and 400M assuming he can take his game outdoors.

On the Female side, I have not heard much beyond Elaine Thompson but I anticipate  preparation and appearances from Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kerron Stewart, Aleen Bailey, and Sherone Simpson. Unless someone or all has retired without my knowledge, I anticipate solid representation on the Track and in the Field.

I am expecting improvement in the Field events such as Long Jump, Triple Jump (Hop, Skip, and Jump), Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, Hammer throw, and High Jump. I anticipate Shardia Lawrence will continue improving in the Long and Triple Jump. There is renewed interest in the Field events and the performance of the youngsters is encouraging. Will it translate into Podium appearances at the Commonwealth Games April 4th to April 15th, 2018? I hope there are Podium appearances from the Group of athletes below.

MALE: Everton Clarke, Kimmari Roach, Omar McLeod, Javon Francis, Steven Gayle,Kemoy Campbell, Ronald Levy, Demar Forbes, Clive Pullen, O’Dayne Richards,
Andre Clarke, Jermaine Gayle, Peter Matthews, and Rusheen McDonald

FEMALE:Remona Burchell, Gayon Evans, Elaine Thompson, Dominique Blake,Tovea Jenkins, Stephanie-Ann McPherson, Natoya Goule, Aisha Praught, Rushell Burton, Jeanine Williams, Shanieka Rickets, Kimberly Williams, Daniel Thomas-Dodd, Tiffany James, and Anastasia Leroy.

Overall, even if the medal count is not high, I expect the athletes to come away with an analysis of what will be required to do well in Olympics 2020. Frankly, the Olympics are the stage and all other Athletic events are mere actors.

LFT

JAMAICANFLAG WAVING