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Stars in for meet

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Stars in for meet

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Former world champions Ryan Brathwaite and Shane Brathwaite, as well as fellow London Olympians Greggmar Swift and Ramon Gittens, lead the line-up of Barbadian athletes who have returned for this weekend’s National Championships in track and field.
The three-day event gets underway at 6 p.m. today with the preliminaries of the 100 and 400 metres as well as the 400 metres hurdles on the newly laid Mondo track at the National Stadium.
The meet continues tomorrow and Sunday at 4 p.m.
This weekend promises mouth-watering match-ups in the men’s 110-metre hurdles, men’s 100 metres, women’s 200 metres, men’s and women’s 400 metres and the 400-metre hurdles.
Defending 100-metre hurdles champion Ryan seems to be rounding into form ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow with a season’s best 13.19 seconds.
Shane has also been consistent since hitting the pro circuit this year with his time of 13.44 and along with Swift (13.49) has qualified for Moscow.
The field will be completed by Texas Tech freshman Tramaine Maloney (13.94) as well as locally based hurdlers Rhys Phillips and Daley Carter who did a personal best time two weeks ago on the new track.
The men’s 100 metres, the final event tomorrow night, is not to be missed.
Runners will first have to get past the starter tonight, but Gittens, who ran a personal best 10.02 earlier this month has immediately emerged as the favourite.
He is likely to be joined in the final by Andrew Hinds (10.24), Levi Cadogan (10. 34), Shekeim Greaves who looked quite easy before pulling up with 10.54, Rimar Christie (10.38); Rico Tull (10.51)     
With the exception of Gittens, those sprinters will also feature in the 200 metres, along with Burkheart Ellis Jr, Nicholas Deshong, Stephen Headley, Fallon Forde, Everton Greenidge, Justin Gooding, Chad Sandiford, and Sachin Clarke.
The women’s hurdles will lack a punch as Kierre Beckles will face little competition. Neither Sade-Mariah Greenidge nor Kenrisha Brathwaite, who both have summer school commitments, will be coming home.
The women’s 100 metres with Shakera Reece, Shavonne Husbands, Mara Weekes and Jade Bailey will be of some interest. But the 200 metres may see the real fireworks, with Sade Sealy (23.80), Ariel Jackson (23.68), Althia Maximilien (23.63) and Shandel Ellis (23.99) joining Reece (23.76), Husbands (23.56), Weekes (23.97), and national record holder Jade Bailey (22.91) who has been fighting an injury.
Sealy and Maximilien will also renew their friendly rivalry in the 400 metres.
The men’s 400 metres will feature defending champion Ellis Jr against Fabian Norgrove, Kion Joseph, Roderick Best, Debarge Carrington, Romario Marshall, Anderson Devonish and Jerrad Mason.
Unfortunately, Anthonio Mascoll will not be coming home to run the 400 and 800 metres, but in the latter event, Norgrove, Mason and Akeem Marshall should battle it out.
Joseph will lead the field in the men’s 400-metre hurdles which also includes Christopher Davis, Akeim David, Kemar Norgrove, Shamar Greenidge and Rivaldo Leacock.
Tia-Adana Belle will continue the quest to lower her time in the 400-metre hurdles. She has added incentive now that Jamaican Daeshon Gordon has moved ahead of her with 58.92 seconds to take second place in the world list.
In the field events, Akela Jones and Jalisa Burrowes will be in the long jump while Pacers trio Ronson Small, Charles Greaves and Barry Batson as well as Shamar Rock will be in the men’s jumps.
Throwers Janeil Craigg, Tristan Whitehall and Leah Bannister should also give spectators something to cheer about.
There will be events on the programme for the Under-11, Under-13 and Under-15 athletes, but the main focus will be on the juniors and seniors who have qualified for the other major meets on the calendar, including the Central American and Caribbean Senior Track And Field Championships, Pan American Juniors and the IAAF World Youth Championships later this year.