Hurdles may draw most buzz

The women’s 400 metres hurdles event at the Cayman Invitational will certainly be considered one of the most exciting on the programme.

At least four past Olympians are expected to be in the blocks at the Truman Bodden Complex on 9 May. Spectators should gain a real preview of London competition from the performances of Tiffany Williams of the United States, Nigeria’s Ajoke Odumosu and Shevon Stoddart and Nickeisha Wilson of Jamaica.

Williams will be familiar to many local track fans as she grew up in Florida and excelled at numerous Miami North West Express Classic competitions. She reached the finals in Beijing and was second in the IAAF world rankings in 2006 and sixth in 2007.

She attended the University of South Carolina, where she blossomed under the coaching of Curtis Frye. She is currently benefitting from coaching from Brooks Johnson and her personal best is listed as 53.28 seconds.

Ajoke Odumosu has gained international honours in both the 400m flats and hurdles. She competed in the former event in Beijing. She won the hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the All Africa title last year. She holds the Nigerian 400m hurdles record at 54.59 seconds.

Stoddart represented Jamaica at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008 and has achieved a personal best of 54.47 seconds. She is an accomplished singer and songwriter in addition to her athletic achievements.

Wilson is acclaimed as the most prolific hurdler in NCAA history for her numerous accomplishments at Louisiana State University at the 60m, 100m and 400m distances. She competed for Jamaica at the last Olympics and her personal best mark for the 400m hurdles stands at 53.97 seconds.

Ristananna Tracey of Jamaica has not yet competed at the Olympic level, as she was only a teenager in 2008. However, she reached the semi-finals of last year’s World Championships and her mark of 54.58 seconds in Kingston in 2011 was well within the London qualifying standard. As one of the latest in a continuing line of outstanding Jamaican hurdlers, Tracey will provide a definite threat to the veterans in the event.

The 400m hurdles is considered the most challenging event of all those presented on the track.

The Cayman Invitational is the first meet that will be an annual event attracting top athletes mainly from the Caribbean and Americas. Organised principally by Cayman track queen Cydonie Mothersill, she will be racing in the 200m for the first time on home soil as a pro. American sprinter Carmelita Jeter is world champion in the 100m and she will run that distance at the Cayman Invitational.

There will be 11 track and two field events. Event tickets are available at all LIME retail store locations, Funky Tangs and JN Money Transfer.

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