(SportsMaxx) The Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil are fewer than 100 days now and track and field athletes from the Caribbean are only just now beginning to put their considerable talents on show. Athletes like Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres and Grenada’s Kirani James lead the list of top-10 performances by Caribbean athletes so far this season and according to the IAAF’s rankings, several other Caribbean athletes are also ranked among the world’s best.
James, an Olympic and World Champion in the 400 metres, leads the world in the one-lap event with his time of 44.36. Not far behind is his countryman Bralon Taplin whose 44.31 is second best so far for 2016. The Grenadians might hold the top two spots but they are not the only Caribbean athletes among the world’s best so far this season because ranked at number-three is Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedeno with 44.79.
In the women’s equivalent Bahamas’s Shaunae Miller’s 49.69s leads the world so far for 2016. The next highest-ranked Caribbean woman is Jamaica Chrisann Gordon who has gone 51.03 for seventh while her countrywoman Janieve Russell’s 51.17s ranks ninth.
In the 200 metres no Caribbean men are currently in the top 10 but the 22.61s run by Barbados’ Sada Williams ranks seventh in the world this year.
In the blue-ribbon sprint, the 100-metre dash, Jamaica’s Simone Facey is the Caribbean’s highest-ranked woman courtesy of her 11-second run that is the third best time in the world this year. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (11.07s) is the second highest ranked Caribbean woman and seventh in the world.
Among the men, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake is the second fastest in the world for 2016 with his 9.95s season best time. Omar McLeod, also of Jamaica, who last weekend became the first sprint hurdler to break 10 seconds in the 100m is ranked fifth with his career-best time of 9.99. A third Jamaican appears at number seven in the form of Nickel Ashmeade who has run 10.03s so far this season.
The Caribbean also has athletes ranked in the top 10 in the 400 metre hurdles among both women and men. Jamaica’s Rhonda Whyte is the fifth best in the world with her personal and season-best time of 55.58s. Barbados’ Tia Adana Belle’s 55.82s is ranked eighth.
Javier Culson leads the Caribbean men in the men’s event with 49.12, the fourth best time in the world so far this year. One place behind is the 49.16s from Jeffrey Gibson of the Bahamas with Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte ranked ninth with 49.39.
The Caribbean women are yet to show their best form in the sprint (100m) hurdles with no one breaking into the top 10. However, the Virgin Islands’ Eddie Lovett is the fourth best in the world among the men with 13.39s. Trinidad and Tobago’s Mikel Thomas’s 13.40 is ranked fifth while Deuce Carter’s 13.41 is ranked seventh.
The Caribbean is also well represented in the field events. Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres leads the world in the men’s discus with his mark of 68.02. He is the only man from the region in the top 10 and his 65.94s is at number six.
Jaime Perez of Cuba dominates the women’s equivalent with marks of 68.86, the second best throw in the world this year, and 67.63. Her countrywoman Denia Caballero is ranked third with marks of 67.53 and 67.30. Between the two they share eight of the top 10 marks in the world.
Caribbean women are also well represented in the women’s triple jump with Jamaica’s Shaneika Thomas’s 14.57m leading the world. Cuba’s Liadagemis Povea is next with 14.56 and 14.53. Yargeris Savigne (14.09m) and Liuba M. Zaldivas (13.96m) are fourth and fifth respectively.
Barbados’ Akela Jones’ 1.95m is the second best vertical leap in the world this year with the St. Lucia pair of Levern Spencer (1.92m) and Jeanelle Schepers (1.89m) sixth and eighth respectively.
Cuba’s Guillermo Martinez’s 81.49 ranks eighth in the men’s javelin while Yaniuviz Lopez’s mark of 18.62m ranks sixth in the women’s shot put.