Good day, folks. We here at the ‘zone’ would like to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to our Caribbean brother, Irwin Clare, sr., on the passing of his father, earlier this week, in Hanover, Jamaica.

We wish the brother much blessings and strength during this most difficult period of bereavement and for his late father, eternal rest in the great beyond!

Hump Day conversation is usually on the lighter, brighter side. So here we go. The results of last Saturday’s thirteenth annual staffing of the Jamaica International Invitation (JII) track & field meeting, at the National Stadium. Kingston, have folks at home and overseas, talking up a storm with mad predictions about Brazil, as if the Zika Virus was not causing enough of that, already!

Those in the know and I mean the T & F fanatics say that the results in Rio, will leave quite a few folks breathless, both literally and figuratively. And those who are talking are those who are always talking.

But, stick a pin! If you keep doing the same thing(s), over and over again, you become good at it, right? Then again, my grandmother would always say that if you talk, not even talk, chat, if you chat too much, you will tell lie and send people to prison!

Folks say that the big, bad, bully on the track that used to be the USA, will be no more and that the party in Rio will be a bitter sweet, homegoing for the Americans!

It is safe to say that every athlete with an eye on Rio, has already stepped on the track with varying degrees of success. Usain St. Leo Bolt, the world’s most wanted man, is still locked away, somewhere, slimming down and toning up, to be ready for those many agents who will try to take him down and tarnish is legacy, some!

The operative word here is ‘try’.

The big, dope cheating American, Justin Gatlin, said he has learned his lesson from the humiliation at the feet of His Excellency, Ambassador Bolt, last season. I’m not convinced, because he’s back to trash talking after winning a race in Japan last week, talking about how he’s not yet 100 per cent fit as he is bothered by a bad, swollen ankle.

Folks, that’s an alibi right there and it will be there ‘til the end of August! Tyson Gay’s replaced hip let him down badly at the Penn Relays Carnival, giving the Jamaican ‘B’ team victory in the Men’s sprint relay. And Mike Rogers got his butt kicked in Kingston last weekend.

Jamaica’s next Prime Minister, Asafa Powell – should he ever consider a run for Gordon House, says he may try the ‘double’ at the national trials, set for the end of June. He is on a tear and will do well. His humility is contagious.

Jamaica will likely ‘medal’ in the one lap, flat event ending a 20 year drought, and that means the USA will not be on the podium for the presentation of medals. There is a South African brother lurking around the corner, somewhere, and could upset what I think will be a Caribbean sweep of the 400 meters event. Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, not necessarily in that order, and I don’t know which nation will get the ribbon (fourth).

Hardware is what counts.

America’s best hope in the female short sprint looked ordinary in Kingston, in a race that produced one of the fastest times by a woman in the last five years! Sanya Richards Ross, who we love to hate, may not even make the USA mile relay team but I will be the first to say, never say never! The USA farm system in track & field athletics, is phenomenal!

The Caribbean as a region will do well in Rio, however the other talking point will be Russia and Kenya and how well both federations respond to allegations of organized doping of their athletes. And let me say this without fear of contradiction. When you have three and four athletes from the same country, finishing 1-2-3 in an event, any event, at the level, of the Summer Olympics and World Championship, the forensic agents are going to come at you!

Remember the tropical depression (it was not really a storm), that surrounded Jamaica some three, four years ago, to the point that there was even talk in high and honored places about testing our junior athletes for PEDs! And how long have we seen athletes from Continental Africa dominate and decimate the competition in events ranging from the middle to longer distances and the marathon?

Folks, if I can be Ms Cleo for a minute, a bolt of lightning will cure all that ails Brazil at the moment, real and/or imagined, including the Zika virus. Have no fear. Jehovah jireh!

That’s today’s conversation. You have the last word. Share your thoughts.


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