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Elaine Thompson-Herah absence from Bermuda Grand Prix explained

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Not coming to Bermuda: Elaine Thompson-Herah will not be competing in Sunday’s USATF Bermuda Grand Prix (File photograph)

Paul Doyle, the American Track League founder, has lifted the lid on the circumstances which led to Elaine Thompson-Herah, the Jamaican sprint star, being ruled out of tomorrow’s USATF Bermuda Grand Prix.

Athletics fans who were hoping to catch the 31-year old Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman alive, live in action in the third edition of the Bermuda Grand Prix at Flora Duffy Stadium have been left disappointed.

That is because the double Olympic champion in the 100 and 200 metres will not be part of the line-up.

Doyle stated that Thompson-Herah’s sponsors had communicated that she was heading to the island, but it turns out the meet organisers have been left in the lurch.

“We were told by her sponsors that she would be coming,’’ Doyle said.

“The sponsors are very involved with her, both from a management and sponsor’s standpoint.

“We were waiting for the management team to officially confirm. Even in the final hours we tried to get her just to show up.

“She’s pretty disappointed that the news hit, she wanted to be here initially, she’s not here because of circumstances that are out of her control.

Ready to perform: Kirani James, left, Tamari Davies, Noah Lyles, Abby Steiner and Jaydon Hibbert are some of the top athletes competing in Sunday's USATF Bermuda Grand Prix (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“I’m sure she Elaine wanted to be here, I know Asafa Powell told me he spoke to her, and she really wanted to here. We hope to see her here next year.

“We were under the impression that she would be here, we've been in negotiations for a long time.

“As we got closer to the event, we were hearing rumblings that she might not be ready. We thought right up until yesterday [Thursday] she would be ready, but then, we were informed that’s not going to be here.

“The whole reason why the American Track League exists and this Bermuda Grand Prix is to be here for athletes.

“We give athletes opportunities, we never force athletes to be here when they’re not ready to be here.

“For that reason, we still have great athletes here, we’re still going to have a great event.”

Bermudians will get a chance to see their local heroes, triple jumper Jah-Nhai Perinchief, and middle-distance runner, Dage Minors in action. While Perinchief was part of the event last year, in which he finished eighth, Minors missed out due to a knee injury.

Perinchief and Minors, whop are still entertaining hopes of Olympic qualification, have been training overseas, with Sunday to provide them with a great opportunity to put all that hard work to the test.

A blessing for me: Grenadian sprinter Kirani James, left, addresses the media, while Tamari Davies, Noah Lyles, Abby Steiner and Jaydon Hibbert listen ahead of Sunday's USATF Bermuda Grand Prix (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

In the absence of Thompson-Herah, all eyes will be on American sprinter, Noah Lyles, who was beaten by compatriot Christian Coleman in last year’s 100 metres.

Lyles, 26, the 200m American record holder, is expected to carry the same enthusiasm he has shown every time he takes to the track.

“It’s all passion and ambition, I have a strong ambition for whatever I touch, whatever I find interesting, I do it to the best of my ability,’’ Lyles said.

“It’s constantly driving myself to say we did things this way, how much better can we improve. I push myself so hard that nobody will be able to touch me.”

In last year’s event, strong winds on the day led to a decision for the sprint races to take place on the back straight, as opposed to the front of the packed stand.

The call was made due to a severe headwind potentially having an adverse effect on the runners.

“We've asked the race directors that we run with the wind,’’ Lyes said.

“Running the race that way, it makes it more exciting. Last year, Christian ran a 9.78 and I ran a 9.80, that puts a lot confidence on you, no matter who’s winning.

“Going with the wind and hoping to see a dramatic time, no matter what that is, puts confidence into the season.

Last year, American sprinter Abby Steiner achieved a double. She was part of the United States which won silver in the 4x100m relay, before she finished things off nicely by winning the women’s 200m in 22.06 seconds.

Steiner, who missed out on the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, due to a bone spur in her left heel, has kept her promise to return to Bermuda.

“I’m excited to be here and I'm excited with what I’ve seen so far,’’ she said. “Last year, I took time to take care of myself, reset, refocus, and find the fun in the sport again.

“I love relays, they’re just a fun, competitive environment. It’s been really a joy to run with some of the people I ran with at the World Championships in Oregon.”

Grenada’s Kirani James, a 400m runner, who is gunning for his fourth Olympic medal, having already qualified for Paris, shared his secret to longevity.

“I've lasted this long by ensuring that I take care of myself, my body, and just trying not to put too much pressure on myself,’’ James said.

“Maybe I’m just blessed to be who I am and to be a part of the sport. Even the opportunity to be here, it’s a blessing for me.”

The 31-year-old won gold in London, silver in Rio and bronze in Tokyo.

In Thompson-Herah’s absence, Tamari Davies will be seeking to defend her 100m title, after she crossed the finish line in 10.91 last year. Davies is also challenging Steiner in the 200m this time around.

Jamaican triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert will be one of the youngest competitors. The 19-year-old was calm and composed yesterday as he faced the prospect of taking on the likes of Perinchief, and the US duo of Donald Scott and Chris Benard.

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Published April 27, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 28, 2024 at 1:16 pm)

Elaine Thompson-Herah absence from Bermuda Grand Prix explained

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