Sports

Julian Forte seeks best for Racers Grand Prix

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Although holding no real expectations, sprinter Julian Forte is optimistic of producing his best performance yet when he graces the track at the third JN Racers Grand Prix inside the National Stadium.

With his season marred by injuries thus far, resulting in him missing out at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia recently, Forte is aiming to come to his possible best for June 9, which is some 17 days away.

“My season hasn't been going the way I wanted it to [as] it has been filled with injuries and I haven't really gotten the chance to train the way I want to. Even at the Commonwealth Games I wasn't able to compete because of said injury, and I had to fly back home and get treatment, so it hasn't been what I expected.

“But I am always pressing for improvement; no matter how fast I run I always try to improve, to do better than I did the previous year. So I am really working on that and I am hoping all will be well on the day,” Forte told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

To better his performance in 2017 would be to topple his personal best of 9.91 seconds achieved at the ISTAF World Challenge meet in Berlin, Germany, which saw him reinforcing his position in the annals of Jamaica's sprint history.

The 25-year-old, who is currently the ninth-fastest Jamaican sprinter in history, had been flirting with the sub-10 mark for some time before eventually stamping his class with a 9.99 clocking at the National Senior Championships in June last year, prior to the Berlin presentation.

There is no doubt that Forte will make further inroads on Jamaica's sprinting ranks once injury is not a factor. He also boasts a 200m personal best of 19.97, which also places him at number nine on the all-time Jamaican list.

And once he reports at or even close to his optimum for the Racers Grand Prix dubbed 'Stars: The Next Generation', the fans will be in for a treat as this young star will certainly be one of the front-runners in the 100m.

“I can't say that I have any real expectations for the Grand Prix because I have been out for a while. But, as usual, I just want to put together a good race, so hopefully I can get in some races before the Grand Prix to see how well I can do there,” Forte noted.

Forte, who made the semi-finals of the 200m and 100m at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships, is expected to line up against Yohan Blake and Englishman Zharnel Hughes, both seeking redemption for their Commonwealth Games misfortunes. Great Britain's Miguel Francis as well as another Jamaican, Kemar Bailey-Cole, also expected to be in the scuffle.

“I haven't seen the list, but my approach is the same: trying to put together a good race, because at the end of the day every athlete will be coming with their A game. So it is just for me to put my best foot forward and try to produce my best race and see what the outcome is from there,” he declared.

With a number of young athletes coming through on the international stage after bidding farewell to the legend Usain Bolt last year, this year's staging of the world-class event will see a number of the world's finest young local and international talents converging for the pulsating three-hour show.

Athletes from more than five countries are expected to compete at the meet that will be held to aid in the development of Jamaica's athletics and that of the Racers Track Club.

A total of 13 international events — six on the men's side and seven for the women's — will be contested, to be complemented by four Olympic Development events. The women will compete in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m as well as the triple jump and shot out.

The men will lock horns in the 100m, 200, 110m hurdles, 400m, as well as the discus and high jump.

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