Some of the best quartermilers in the world will be on show at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain this evening, in the qualifying round of the NGC-Sagicor NAAA (National Association of Athletics Administrations) Open Track and Field Championship men's 400 metres event.
Reigning world junior champion Machel Cedenio, the third fastest man in the world this year at 44.36 seconds, heads the cast. More than 40 men will bid for lanes in tomorrow's “A” and “B” finals.
Nineteen-year-old Cedenio should have no problems advancing, and is likely to be joined in the “A” final by double Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, reigning champion Renny Quow, and Jarrin Solomon.
Missing from the men's one-lap start list are Deon Lendore and Jereem Richards. Lendore is injured, and will not compete at the Championships.
National record holder Janeil Bellille opens the defence of her women's 400m title this evening.
Bellille dominated her rivals last year, completing her lap of the track in 51.83 seconds to erase a 16-year-old Trinidad and Tobago standard from the books. Though her fastest time this season, 52.95, is more than a second slower, Bellille is the class of the field and would fancy her chances of producing another golden run in tomorrow's final.
Romona Modeste, Magnolia Howell, Alena Brooks and Jessica James are expected to be the main contenders for Bellille's title. Only Modeste in that quartet has dived under 54 seconds this season, the veteran quartermiler having clocked 53.98 to strike gold at the Falcon Games on March 29.
Once she is anywhere close to her best, gold looks guaranteed for Bellille.
Wayne Davis II and Mikel Thomas are also expected to be on show at the Crawford Stadium today.
Davis is the defending men's 110m hurdles champion, but Thomas is the favourite. On April 18, Thomas produced a 13.32 seconds run at the Mt SAC Relays in California, USA, and has also clocked 13.39, 13.44 and 13.47 this season. Davis, on the other hand, has struggled for form. His best 2015 clocking is 13.59 seconds.
The opening round of the men's 100m event will be contested today. But with the top five sprinters earning byes into the semis, reigning champion Richard “Torpedo” Thompson, Keston Bledman, Rondel Sorrillo, Emmanuel Callender and Marcus Duncan will not face the starter until tomorrow.
Darrel Brown, the 2003 IAAF World Championship silver medallist, and top junior Jonathan Farinha, however, will compete this evening.
Veteran sprinter Marc Burns is injured, and will not see action at the Championships. And 22-year-old Jamol James was not entered.
In the women's 100m, last year's winner Michelle-Lee Ahye, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant and Semoy Hackett have received byes into the semis, and will not run in today's preliminary round.
The hammer throw titles will be decided this evening. The men's field is likely to include national record holder Emmanuel Stewart.
Action at the Crawford Stadium today is scheduled to start at 5.30pm with the men's 10,000m event, featuring Kenyan Kenneth Rotich.