GOING FOR HAT-TRICK: Keston Bledman

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Champ Bledman on show

NGC/Sagicor Open Championships

By Kwame Laurence kwame.laurence@trinidadexpress.com

Keston Bledman will be at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain this evening to open the defence of his national sprint title.

The Simplex sprinter captured the men’s 100 metres title in 2012, and made a successful defence last year. Both times, he beat Richard “Torpedo” Thompson into second spot.

It is Thompson, however, who goes into the 2014 NGC/Sagicor Open Championships as favourite. The “Torpedo” is joint-third with Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut on the 2014 world performance list at 9.95 seconds. Thompson also has a wind-assisted 9.74 run to his name.

Bledman’s best clocking so far this season is 10.08 seconds.

The men’s 100m entry list also includes Rondel Sorrillo, Marc Burns, Darrel Brown, Shermund Allsop, Jonathan Farinha, Ayodele Taffe and Emmanuel Callender.

Bledman, Burns, Sorrillo and Thompson combined for men’s 4x100m silver at the IAAF World Relays, in Nassau, Bahamas, last month.

The four sprinters who featured in Trinidad and Tobago’s women’s 4x100m bronze medal run in Nassau--Kamaria Durant, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Kai Selvon--will be on show today in the women’s 100m preliminaries.

Ahye is the form sprinter in the group, and is tipped for gold. The 22-year-old athlete is joint-fourth on this year’s world performance list at 11.04 seconds.

The men’s and women’s 100m preliminaries, as well as the qualifying round in the men’s and women’s 400m events will be contested this evening.

Action at the Crawford Stadium starts at 5.30 p.m. with the women’s 10,000m, featuring Tonya Nero and Jenelle Nedd.

Next on the track will be the women’s 400m. Among the entrants are Jessica James, Janeil Bellille, Magnolia Howell, Alena Brooks, Shawna Fermin, Romona Modeste and Domonique Williams.

The men’s 400m field is extremely strong, and is headed by defending champion and 2014 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) winner Deon Lendore.

The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, 2009 World Championship bronze medallist Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio, the 2014 world junior leader at 45.23 seconds, Jarrin Solomon, Carlyle Roudette, Ade Alleyne-Forte, Jereem Richards and Zwede Hewitt are among the challengers for Lendore’s national one-lap title.

Solomon, who earned 4x400m bronze at the 2012 London Olympics and again at the 2014 IAAF World Relays, told the Express his “confidence level is high” ahead of the National Championships.

“My season started off a little slow with a couple injuries, but now I’m back in shape. My legs are really feeling good, so I’m expecting good times and a good race.”

Solomon is targeting two medals at the July 23-August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I want to go in the individual (400). Hopefully, I’ll be able to secure that spot this weekend. And then I want to get a medal in the 400, and also in the relay. That’s always my goal--each time I represent Trinidad and Tobago--to get a medal in everything I run in, whether it’s individual or relay or both.”

The NGC/Sagicor Open Championship 400m and 100m finals take place tomorrow.
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