Preview: Donovan Bailey Invitational - National Track League
The Donovan Bailey Invitational is meet number three of the six meets that make up the National Track League. This event will prove to be exciting as it is the final NTL meet before the various national Olympic Trials take place. The Donovan Bailey Invitational happens Saturday, June 16th at the City of Edmonton's Foote Field.
The American Trials will take place in Eugene, Oregon from June 21st through to July 1st. The Canadian Trials take place in Calgary, Alberta from June 27th to June 30th.
Flotrack is providing live coverage of all six National Track League meets.
1:50 PM - Women's Pole Vault
1:50 PM – Men's Triple Jump - International
American Aarik Wilson is the number one seed in this event. His personal best jump is 17.58m. Wilson's main competition will come from Haitian Samyr Laine, who has jumped as far as 17.39m. These two will battle for first while the remainder of the contestants will look to fight it out for bronze. They are Chris Hercules from Trinidad & Tobago (16.95), Fabian Florant from the Netherlands (16.85) and American Wilbert Walker with his personal best of 16.85.
1:50 PM - Men's Hammer Throw - International
Can anyone compete with American Kibwé Johnson? Maybe, but it will take a lifetime personal best throw from Canadian James Steacy to unseat the powerful Johnson. Johnson has thrown as far as 80.31. He is the only hammer thrower in this meet to have eclipsed the 80m barrier. Steacy's best is 79.13. All throwers are in the mix though, including Drew Loftin of the US. He has as personal record of 75.42 and fellow American Lucais MacKay with his 72.95 however, his best this season is just 67.46m. My money is on Johnson for the win.
2:20 PM – Men's 100m – National
2:30 PM - Men's 400mH - National
All eyes will be on Laron Bennett of the US. He is capable of literally running away from the entire field, as he owns a personal record of 48.74. American Cory Bebee is running nearly his best ever this season recently acheiving a near personal best time of 50.68, his best is 50.66. Alex Wilright from the US will be a threat for the win. So far, this is his best season as he recently achieved a new personal best time of 50.32. IAAF Olympic Standards are A – 49.50 and B – 49.80.
Is thirty-one-year-old Adam Kunkel from Walkerton, Ontario poised and ready to take the next step in his hurdling career and compete in the finals at the Olympic Games? He has won Pan-American Games gold and did compete in the finals of the World Championships however, he did not finish. He boasts a personal best time of 48.24. The pressure is on to bring his current times down, as he has run just 50.14 so far for 2012. Canadian Olympic standards for this event are, B – 49.80, A – 49.50 and A+ - 48.46. He has his work cut out for him as Edmonton is the final meet before the Canadian Olympic Trials in Calgary, Alberta.
Gabriel El Hanbli and Nigel Joseph will be hot on his heels bringing their comparable low-51 second personal best times to the line. Also in the race are Canadians Nigel Joseph (51.06), Garrett King (54.46) and Gabriel El Hanbli with his personal best of 50.77, is in the mix.
2:30 PM – Men's Shot Put - International
There is a reason for everything and the reason why Kamloops, BC native Dylan Armstrong, is easily one of the world's best at the shot put is due to a combination of talent, requisite size and his dedication to training. He can be found working out at a nearby field, well after his competition is over. After the June 13th Victoria International Track Classic, he was doing just that. He is dedicated in his event and devastating in his power. He led the world for an extensive period of time during the 2011 season with his Canadian record of 22.21 meters. His season's best for 2012 is 21.50 meters. Look for Dylan Armstrong to continue his domination.
American Ryan Whiting and Canadian Justin Rodhe, may provide competition for Armstrong as they have thrown as far as 21.97m and 21.11m, respectively. Rodhe was recently ruled ineligible to represent Canada and his Olympic bid may be derailed. The International Association of Athletics Federations view him as an American however, he has resided in Kamloops, BC for over four years and is married to Canadian hammer thrower Megann Rodhe. Regardless Rodhe is a threat to medal at the Olympics, if he gets to go. American Zack Lloyd brings his 21.03 personal best to the field, looking for more, as will Huang Chang of China with his 20.58m best. Eclipsing Chang is American Noah Bryant as he has tossed as far as 20.80. Rounding out the field is Amin Nikfar from Iran (20.05) and Canadian Tim Nedow (19.69).
2:40 PM - Women's 400m - International
Canadian Jenna Martin, may have her hands full if Tiandra Ponteen of Sk. Kitts & Nevis and Davita Prendergast of Jamaica have anything to say about it. The two latter athletes have not yet found their prior form this season however, they do own personal bests of 50.83 and 50.86, respectively. Martin is is running well this season, having attained a new personal best time of 51.69.
Canadian Carline Muir is in the mix as she has run as fast as 51.55 and 52.75 this season and she will likely be followed by fellow Canadians and rising stars, Sage Watson (54.02) and Rachel Francois (55.01).
2:50 PM – Men's 1500m - National
Taylor Milne's Olympic dreams pretty much hinge on him putting in an excellent performance at this meet. If he reaches standard then he will be off to the Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials in Calgary, where he will need to finish top three. His season has not gone exactly the way he hoped it would, so look for a great effort from Milne. He does own a 3:36 personal best.
Nate Brannen, is going in the opposite direction as Milne, he has run the A standard, finishing in 3:34.22 and just needs to finish top-three in Calgary. He has raced Harry Jerome, Victoria International and now will do Edmonton. He said, “I am racing all three meets to simulate the frequency I will race in the Olympics.”
Dawit Wolde, owns a personal best time of 3:33.82, which he achieved May 27th 2012 at the Hengelo meet. The only serious threat to this world-class athlete in Edmonton is Brannen.
American AJ Acosta, is running well as he has brought his personal record down to 3:36.41. Acosta may have Peter van der Westhuizen of South Africa to contend with or at least draft off of as van der Westhuizen's best performance this season is only slightly faster (3:36.00).
Kyle Boorsma, is another in a long line of Canadian athletes that are coached by Dave Scott-Thomas, of Guelph, Ontario. Although he will have to improve on his 3:39.21 substantially if he is to be considered a serious threat in this race. The Canadian Olympic standards for this event are, B – 3:38.00 and A – 3:35.50, plus a top-three finish at the June 27th to June 30th Canadian Olympic Trials.
Fellow Canadian Geoff Martinson, is in a similar situation as Milne. He will be fighting hard for a spot on the Olympic team. He has competed in the World Championships in Daegu, which provided him with excellent international experience. Martinson's personal best is 3:37.56. Also competing are Australian David McNeil (3:42.78), Canadians Jeremy Rae (3:40.93), Matt Lincoln (3:38.44) and Geoff Harris who is an 800m specialist with a solid personal best time of 1:46.35. Also, in the field will be Ross Proudfoot (3:41.00).
3:00 PM - Women's 200m - National
Sheri-Ann Brooks of Jamaica will enter the first of two races at this meet. She will also compete in the 100m event. She will be the favorite to win, as she has run as fast as 22.70. However, you cannot discount Canada's top 200m women, which include, Adrienne Power with her season best time of 23.68 and personal best of 22.86, Crystal Emmanuel, her bests are 23.40 and 22.90. There is Amonn Nelson and Kim Hyacinthe, they have run the identical time for this distance, which is 23.32. Keri-Ann Mitchell owns a personal best time of 23.59 however, her seasonal best is still outside of the 24 second barrier (24.42). Leah Walkeden and Isatu Fofanah round out the field.
3:05 PM – Men's 200m - International
American Walter Dix, is the only athlete in this race to have cracked the 20-second barrier however, there are several who will at least threaten his season's best time of 20.02. Micheal Mathieu from the Bahamas may be ready to crack the 20-second barrier, as he has run as fast as 20.16. Likely to finish in the top three is Canadian Jared Connaughton, who has run 20.30 this season, which is a personal best. Canadian Bryan Barnett and American Ainsley Waugh have run the identical seasonal bests of 20.31. Very close behind is American Terrel Cotton, who has run 20.33. Canadian Tremaine Harris (20.61) and American Boase (20.71), round out the field.
3:10 PM – Men's Devil’s 5km - National
3:10 PM - Women's Hammer Throw - International
Canadian Sultana Frizell, is the clear-cut favorite as she has an outstanding personal best that she achieved this season of 75.04m. Only fellow Canadian Heather Steacy (72.16m), has come close. American Gwen Berry has thrown clear of the 71m distance this season and will look to continue to improve upon that performance. Her lifetime best is 71.95. Canadians Liz Dubourt, Megann Rodhe and American Loree Smith will fight out for a distant third.
3:15 PM - Women's Long Jump - International
Favored to win this meet is American Janay Deloach. She is rounding into form nicely this season with her 2012 World Indoor silver medal win and her season best jump of 6.98m, which is not too far off her personal best of 6.99m, from 2011. Fellow Americans Tianna Madison (6.89m) and Brianna Glenn (6.87m) are in the hunt for first, closely followed by Canadian Ruky Abduli, who has jumped as far as 6.74m and looks to continue to improve. The rest of the competitors are, Canadians Krysha Bayley (6.62m), Alice Falaiye (6.72m), heptathlete Jessica Zelinka (6.19m) and Rachel McIntosh (5.86m). Rose Richmond of the US is always a threat to medal with her personal best of 6.76 however, her season's best is still back at 6.27m.
3:30 PM - Women's 800m - National
Diane Cummins is the reigning Canadian record holder in the 800m distance with her 1:58.9 personal best time. She is a veteran of international competition for nearly 20 years and is a decorated competitor who gets it done, even at the age of 38. She has every potential to continue her winning ways. Fellow Canadians Lemlem Bereket and Jessica Smith however, are poised to take over the lead as fastest 800m women in Canada, as they have personal and season bests of 2:00.85 and 2:00.61, respectively. Not far behind will be twenty-two-year-old countrywoman Rachel Aubry (2:02.68). The field is completed by Canadian Annie LeBlanc (2:03.55), developing American Heather Wilson 2:04.55, fellow American Stephanie Herrick (2:05.98) and Canadian Jenna Westaway 2:09.78.
3:35 PM - Men's Pole Vault Men - National
Veteran Jason Wurster who has vaulted to a new personal best this season of 5.51m, is the favorite going in with fellow Canadian Ryan Vu, just below him who owns a 5.41 pb. Also in the mix is American Levi Keller with the identical personal best height of 5.41 and Ryan Brown with his 5.40. Also competing are Canadian Deryk Theodore (5.20m) and fellow Canadian David Foley (5.36m).
3:40pm – Men's 800m - National
This will be a hotly contested event. Canadian Jaden Ostapowich, who hails from Wetaskiwin, Alberta is looking to improve on his 1:47.55 personal best. Julius Mutekanga, of Uganda, will likely lead the way, as he has run as fast as 1:46.30. The rest of the field is made up of Canadians Peter Corrigan, Tyler Smith, Karl Robertson, Thomas Riva, Adam Gaudes, David Holm and Cam Mitchell who own personal best performance times in the range of 1:48.90 to 1:53.22.
3:50 PM – Women's 100mH - International
Priscilla Lopes-Schliep will be a serious candidate to medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Lopes-Schliep's best time is an outstanding 12.49. Her season best time of 12.64 is also world-class. She is the favorite to win in Edmonton however, will be challenged by her long-time competitor and fellow Canadian Perdita Felicien. Felicien has medaled internationally and is an experienced veteran who looks to qualify for the London Games. Her personal best is 12.46 however, it has been eight years since she ran that time. So far this season the best she has run is 13.12. Edmonton native Angela Whyte makes up the trio of this long-time contingent of world-class Canadian hurdlers. Her personal best is 12.63 and season best 12.95.
The top three will be challenged by fellow Canadian Phylicia George. George, like Felicien, has not slipped under the 13-threshold this season however, does come to the track with an excellent personal best time of 12.73. Nikkita Holder who has run 12.84 this season is a serious contender. Finally, all these top Canadians will be pushed by Jamaican Natasha Ruddock and American Nia Ali who have run as fast as 12.87 and 12.73, respectively.
4:00 PM – Men's 110mH - International
Americans Jason Richardson, Ryan Wilson, Tyler Atkins, Dexter Faulk, Joel Brown and Jeff Porter are going to battle this race out to the end, as they prepare for the looming US Olympic Trials. The likely order of finish could be anyone's guess, as their performances this season have been close, with Faulk leading the pack with his lifetime best of 13.13, followed by Wilson with his 13.20, which matches Brown's all-time personal record. In terms of personal best performances, Richard and Wilson have run 13.02 and 13.04, respectively. For Porter, he has run as fast as 13.26. Brown, if he steps up to his own standard of 13.20 may be in the mix. Atkins has run as fast as 13.25. Jamaican Richard Phillips (13.39) and Ingvar Mosely of Canada (14.01), round out the field. This should prove to be an exciting race to watch.
4:15 PM - Women's 100m - International
Jamaican Sheri-Ann Brooks, will contest this race after having competed in the 200m event, earlier in the day. Her season best is 11.33 and she owns a personal best time of 11.05. Canada's Phylicia George who also regularly competes in the hurdles, will be racing. Her bests are 11.25 and 11.38. This should be a close race between the two however, American Tianna Madison is a serious threat as she has run as fast as 11.01. Fellow American Brianna Glenn, has run as fast as 11.10. Canadian Keri-Ann Mitchell and Jamaican Trisha-Ann Hawthorne, will make this event a highly competitive. Also, in the race is Canadian Isatu Fofanah.
4:25 PM - Men's 100m - International
Twenty Jamaican men have run the IAAF Olympic qualifying standard for the 100m distance event. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake are the country's three fastest sprinters. Blake is toeing the line in Edmonton. He owns a personal best of 9.82.
Fellow Jamaicans Lerone Clarke and Michael Frateris are capable of competing with Blake and so should make this race interesting. Clarke's personal best is 9.99 and has run as fast as 10.03 this season, while Frater has run as fast as 9.88 and 10-flat this season. Daniel Bailey from Antigua is looking to bring his season-best time of 10.10 down, to be more in line with what he is capable of, which is 9.91. There is no counting out American former high school football star Trell Kimmons. Timmon's owns a personal best time of 9.95. Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway and Gerald Phiri of Zambia are also an outside threat as they own personal best times of 9.99 and 10.06, respectively.
Christopher Kelsall is a freelance journalist and writes for Athletics Illustrated