AFTER dominating the world of track and field for the past two years, Jamaican athletes have sent out early messages that there will be no easing up this season.
Several Jamaica athletes are ranked in the top five of their events. There are no major championships this year but the new Diamond League meets will offer lucrative prizes to the top athletes.
Double world-record holder, Usain Bolt, produced a brilliant performance in his first individual race this season. After competing for his Racers club in relay events this season, he produced the fourth fastest 200 metres of all time when he clocked 19.56 seconds to win the event at the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet last Saturday before a bumper crowd at the National Stadium.
Steve Mullings, who ran on the country’s successful men’s 4x100m team in Berlin last year is also among the top five in the event as his 20.28 seconds clocking to win at the Guadeloupe meet recently has him at number four.
Two other Jamaicans, Dwight Thomas and Nesta Carter, are also among the top five in their events.
Carter who was out for nearly a full season last year due to injury, captured the 100m at the JII meet in 10.09 seconds to be at the number five spot in the event. American Ivory Williams who finished fourth in the JII is the world leader with his 9.95 seconds at the Kansas Relays two weeks ago.
Thomas, who was a finalist in the men’s 110m hurdles at the Berlin World Championships last year is off to a great start as his winning time of 13.33 seconds at the JII puts him at number two, just behind American David Oliver who leads with 13.24 seconds.
The women are also well placed in their events. Veronica Campbell-Brown is the leader in the women’s 200 metres with her 22.32 seconds winning effort at the Kansas Relays. Kerron Stewart is at number three after her 22.57 seconds at a recent meet in Auburn.
Stewart, the Olympic and World Championships 100 metres silver medallist is also at number two in this event following her second-place finish behind American Carmelita Jeter at the JII. Jeter clocked 10.94 with Stewart just behind in 10.96.
Both Novelene Williams-Mills and Kenia Sinclair are on top of the world in their events. Williams-Mills, who finished fourth in Berlin last year in the 400 metres, raced to an impressive 50.32 seconds at the JII meet.
Sinclair had her best ever 800 metres opener at the same meet where she clocked 1:58.62.