Anything about Usain Bolt is big news, whether it is attending charity shows or inaugurating new world-wide stores for his sponsors. A few months ago, when Bolt announced his intentions of running in the Adidas Grand Prix, the 7th Diamond League venue for IAAF’s 2015 calendar, the media lapped it up with great fanfare. A 100m dash takes around 10 seconds and even if Bolt runs in both 100m and 200m, he would still be spending less than 60 minutes on the track, if heats are counted as well. For someone, who literally didn’t do any competitive running for better part of 2014, except in the 4×100 relays at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the appearance in this week-end’s IAAF Relays at the Bahamas is a huge media affair. There will be two events in the IAAF Relays and Bolt has decided to do both 4×100 and 4x200m. To make the Bahamas Relays even more intriguing, the Jamaican men’s team is likely to be pitted against the one from the USA. This means, the six-time Olympic Gold medalist will likely have a showdown with Justin Gatlin, who is a part of the US team. The athletics watchers await with keen interest as the two track superstars take on each other during May 2-3, 2015. In 2014, Gatlin posted the fastest time of 9.77 seconds in 100m and 19.68 in 200m. The 33-year old US athlete won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics but had to serve a 4-year doping ban. As of now, Gatlin looks in top shape and it will be fascinating to watch him running with Bolt for the World Relay honors at the Bahamas on Sunday night.
The Jamaican squad for the IAAF World Relays at Nassau will feature sprint superstars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Taken together, 44 men and women athletes will represent Jamaica. In last year’s inaugural event, Bolt was not the part of the team since he was unfit and Jamaica finished second to USA in the Golden Baton standings. But Jamaican men’s 4x200m team performed superbly to set a new world record of 1:18.63. This year, Bolt’s name has been included in Jamaica’s 4x100m and 4x200m teams and it will be the first time in a decade that Bolt comes back to Bahamas after his last appearance in the 2005 Central America and Caribbean Games. Other Jamaican athletes in men’s 4×200 event are; Warren Weir, Nickel Ashmeade and Jermaine Brown, all of whom were part of last year’s team. In addition, the team also includes Julian Forte, Andrew Fisher and Kimarley Brown. Jamaica’s women team is no less powerful with names like; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson and Elaine Thompson.
The US team for the World Relays will comprise of 51 athletes in various disciplines but for the prestigious 4×100 and 4x200m, they have strong squad to challenge the Jamaicans. The men’s 4×100 team will have Ryan Bailey, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers, Charles Silmon and Isiah Young while the 4×200 squad includes Ryan Bailey, Justin Gatlin, Curtis Mitchell, Joe Morris, Wallace Spearmon and Justin Walker. The women’s challenge from USA will come from athletes like Tianna Bartoletta, four-time Olympic gold medallists Allyson Felix and three-time Olympic medallist Carmelita Jeter in 4×100. Other members in this event will be Jeneba Tarmoh, Tiffany Townsend and Jessica Young. The US relay field for 4x200m will comprise of Kimberlyn Duncan, Candyce McGrone, Tawanna Meadows, Shalonda Solomon, Kaylin Whitney and Charonda Williams.
Therefore, other than witnessing the Bolt-Gatlin showdown, the two-day meet at Nassau will have Americans and Jamaicans vying for superiority in shorter sprint relays. For all participants, the qualification for 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be an added incentive since the top eight teams in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m will automatically qualify for Rio.
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