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No Bolt, Powell on Jamaica’s Team to The Bahamas


Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will not be at the World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas this weekend. And news broke yesterday (19th) about the late withdrawal of Rio Olympic 4x100m gold medalist Asafa Powell and Julian Forte, a member of the relay team to the Bahamas in 2015.

Quarter-miler and national 400m record holder 20Rusheen McDonald also withdrew at the eleventh hour.

In the absence of Bolt and Powell, Yohan Blake will lead the men in “battle” against the Americans, and Elaine Thompson will spearhead the women’s challenge as the 41-member Jamaican team head to the third edition of the IAAF two-day affair.

Meanwhile, Thompson, the 2016 Rio Olympic sprint-double champion, has been bubbling with excitement over her first World Relays. She will be joined for the women’s 4x100m squad by Gayon Evans, Simone Facey, Natasha Morrison, and Christania Williams, and reigning inter-collegiate sprint champion and Rio sprint relay silver medalist Sashalee Forbes, 21.

Thompson will return for the 4x200m, and she will be joined by Samantha Henry-Robinson, Anastacia Le-Roy, Jura Levy, Dawnalee Loney and Audra Segree.

The members of the women’s 4x400m squad are Verone Chambers, Christine Day, World and Olympic bronze medalist Shericka Jackson, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Janieve Russell.

Blake, Powell to Lead The Men

On the men’s side, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Everton Clarke, Julian Forte, and Jevaughn Minzie will team up with Blake, MVP of the 2014 Relays, for the 4x100m.

The 4x200m team will consist of Nickel Ashmeade, Oshane Bailey, Rasheed Dwyer, Nigel Ellis, Chadic Hinds, and Warren Weir.

Quarter-milers Javere Bell, Javon Francis, Demish Gaye, Steven Gayle, and Peter Matthews will make up the 4x400m squad.

There will also be a mixed (men and women) 4x400m squad, which includes Natoya Goule, Jaheel Hyde, Tiffany James, Martin Manley, Jamari Rose and Ristananna Tracey.

Marie Tavares will manage the team with her assistant, Alan Beckford. Maurice Wilson will be the technical director while Paul Francis, Jerry Holness, Michael Clarke, Renardo Walcott and Patrick Dawson will serve as coaches.

Looking to Turn The Tables

The Jamaicans will be defending the women’s 4x100m and the men’s 4x200m relay titles. They will also be seeking turn the tables on the Americans who defeated their Bolt-anchored team last year.

With eight points for a win, Jamaica was second overall in the teams’ standing behind champions the USA, who gained 63 points to Jamaica’s 46. Poland was third with 34 points.

More than 700 athletes from 42 nations are expected to be there. Seven of those nations — Belarus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Czech Republic, The Gambia, Ghana, India, and South Africa — will be making their IAAF World Relays debut.

The inaugural World Relays in 2014 hosted 576 athletes, and 669 athletes competed there in 2015.

The top eight finishers in the 4x100m and 4x400m for both men and women will earn automatic entry for the 2017 IAAF London World Championships in August.

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