More than 2,400 athletes from some 200 countries are in Daegu, South Korea for nine days of fierce and intense battles from tomorrow, Aug. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 4. Caribbean Tracklife International (CTI) has been following these athletes all season long and could not resist the desire to make some predictions.
The likes of Usain Bolt (Jamaica), Sanya Richards (USA), and Allyson Felix (USA), among others, are bent on defending the titles won at the 2009 Berlin Championships. Incidentally, these defending champions are not listed in their respective countries relay pool since they received automatic byes to their individual events.
The fact that these athletes are not listed as a part of the relay pool, does not mean that they will not compete in the relays; it is up to the discretion the individual country’s governing body to include the athletes in the relays. Therefore, a healthy Usain Bolt will definitely compete in the 4x1 relay for Jamaica. Some athletes started out the season with a bang, putting their names out there early to be noticed. However, as the countdown to the Games began, we saw the cream of the crop slowly rising to the top. Notwithstanding, some major upsets are expected. Here are our final predictions.
Despite the news at the 11th hour that Asafa Powell is out of the 100m due to persistent groin strain, this remains a hotly contested event that will feature the Jamaican trio of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter matching strides with the USA’s duo of Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin. Trinidad’s Richard Thompson and Antigua Daniel Bailey along with the French sprinting sensation Christophe Lemaitre should all factor in the final. Bolt has a season best 9.91 and a sub-par season in which he seemed to struggle in the 100m. He is credited as being the only undefeated runner this season in this event, winning head-to-head battle against Powell and Carter. Blake has been impressive this season with a season best 9.95 and running a wind-aided 9.80 in the semi-final at the Jamaica Trials. Thompson ran a 9.85, a national record for Trinidad, last week.
Picks: (1) Usain Bolt (2) Yohan Blake; Nesta Carter. Upset alert: Richard Thompson
USA Carmelita Jeter is having the season of her life with a world-leading 10.70secs and has demolished her competition, winning in fine style. Jeter looks very good and will definitely be a factor in the final outcome. However, she tends to run very tight (not relax) in big races. For her, running a relaxed race is the key to victory, as she will have to contend with Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (SAFP), and Kerron Stewart as well as Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste.
Jeter’s compatriot Marshevet Myers may also be a factor, but while Jeter is the clear favorite, VCB commands great respect as she won the only head-to-head battle against Jeter. In addition, VCB has improved her start and with her 200m strength, will be a force in the 100m if she is out of the blocks quickly. SAFP, the reigning Olympics and World 100m champion, has her patented fast start and a winded-aided 22.10 (200m) earlier in the season to her credit; she cannot be ignored. Her recent performances are textbook training sessions with Daegu being the ultimate goal. Baptiste has a season best 10.91 and is having a great season that has seen her defeat VCB on two occasions.
Picks: (1) Veronica Campbell-Brown (2) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (3) Carmelita Jeter; Upset alert: Kelly-Ann Baptiste.
This race belongs to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder. Despite his sub-par performances this season, Bolt has clocked a world-leading 19.86secs in the rain. The 200m is Bolt’s favorite event and he has the talent and skills to easily win the 200m despite being less than 100% healthy. However, his compatriot Nickel Ashmeade (19.95 personal best) and USA’s Walter Dix (USA) should provide some challenge along with Alonso Edwards (Panama) and Rondel Sorrillo (Trinidad). Ashmeade had the honor of joining the sub-20 200m club in May. Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure was a factor in many of his races this season and could be a factor in the final if the other stars falter.
Picks: (1) Usain Bolt (2) Walter Dix (3) Nickel Ashmeade; Upset alert: Walter Dix.
This is a very interesting race that features the USA duo of Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix going up against the Jamaica duo of VCB and Kerron Stewart. Bahamas’s Golden girl Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie will also be a factor in the finals. While Felix is having a good season winning in style, she also seemed lackadaisical and disinterested at times. She will have her work cut out for her in dealing with the speed of VCB and the power of Jeter. VCB has improved her start and was credited as the only woman to run under 22secs during the 2010 season. Despite a 2011 season best 22.26 for VCB compared to 22.20 season best for Jeter, the fact is, VCB is a veteran 200m runner. She should dominate the women’s 200m in Daegu.
Picks: (1) Veronica Campbell-Brown (2) Allyson Felix (3) Carmelita Jeter. Upset alert: Carmelita Jeter.
Grenada’s Kirani James, the 18-year-old quarter-miler who ran a world-leading 44.61secs in his pro-debut in London on August 5, should be one of the favorites for the 400m title. USA’s LaShawn Merritt (44.74 season best (SB), Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales (44.69 SB), Bahamas’s Demetrius Pinder (44.78 SB) and USVI Tabarie Henry (44.83 SB) will be a part of the outcome. Others worthy of 400m glory include Grenada’s Rondell Bartholomew (44.65 SB) and Bahamas’s Chris “Fireman” Brown (44.79 SB). The 400m is one of the most competitive and unpredictable event with no single athlete dominating the event this season. The fact that Kirani was held back by his coaching staff for the entire summer before he was unleashed in London two weeks ago, indicates that this young man is ready to take it to the next level.
Picks: (1) Kirani James (2) LaShawn Merritt (3) Jermaine Gonzales. Upset alert: Rondell Bartholomew.
The main contenders for the 400m include Allyson Felix (USA), Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), Amantle Montsho (Botswana), the Jamaican trio of Rose-marie Whyte, Shericka Williams and Novlene Williams-Mills. Montsho is having an impressive season on the Diamond League circuit and has posted victories over Felix, Richards and the rest of her competitors. However, the reigning World champion Richards-Ross ran a world-leading 49.66secs in London on August 6 and signaled that she will not give up her title without a fight. Montsho, on the other hand, despite not having a world-leading time, will look to dominate the women’s 400m. Felix will use her superior speed to put pressure on the rest of the field. Rose-marie Whyte is also having a splendid season, highlighted by a personal best 49.84 performance in London behind Richards-Ross.
Picks: (1) Amantle Montsho (2) Allyson Felix (3) Rose-marie Whyte. Upset alert: Rose-marie Whyte.
Part 2: Men's and Women's 400mH, Women's 800m, the relays.