Asafa is back! Elaine Thompson has arrived

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asafa-powell-photo-1.jpgFormer world 100 metre record holder Asafa Powell has announced he is back and new sprint sensation Elaine Thompson has announced she has arrived.Both Jamaicans were the undoubted stars on Saturday night at the 12th staging of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet, an IAAF World Challenge event.

Powell in a rare appearance in Jamaica, and returning to full bloom after a positive doping test and a break up with long time coach Stephen Francis, blazed the National Stadium track in a world leading 9.84 seconds to win the men's 100 metres to rapturous cheers and applause to a near capacity crowd at the 30,000 seat stadium.

Powell and former MVP club mate Nesta Carter left the blocks in tandem, with Carter slightly ahead. But when Powell emerged from the drive phase, he simply lifted those knees and turned on the after burners to win impressively with lots to spare ahead of American pariah in Jamaica, Ryan Bailey, who was timed in 9.93 seconds. Carter was third in 9.98 secs. Bailey had to endure sustained boos from the crowd following his throat slitting gesture in the Bahamas last week when the USA beat Jamaica with Usain Bolt in the men's sprint relay final.

Thompson who ran a world leading 10.92 secs on April 11 at the Utech Classic, to emerge as a credible threat to all the big guns for this summer's World Championships, again showed she has it.

elaine-thompson.jpgThompson got a dynamic start and streaked way to beat a quality field in 10.97 secs ahead of Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare 11.05 secs and American Allyson Felix 11.09 secs. Thompson is now firmly in the mix with Veronica Campbell Brown and Kerron Stewart to make Jamaica's team at next month's trials for the world championships. Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce has a bye for both 100 and 200 metres, being the defending champion.

American Jasmin Stowers was smooth and brilliant to win the women's sprint hurdles in a meet record 12.39 secs ahead of sisters Danielle Williams 12.77 secs and Shermaine 12.89 secs.The men's 110 metre high hurdles was won by American Aleec Harris in a meet record 13.16 secs. He beat compatriot Jeff Porter into second in 13.36 secs and Mikel Thomas 3rd in 13.44 secs.

Another American Bershawn Jackson, 48.47 secs, won the men's 400 metre hurdles ahead of Jamaica's Leford Green 49.22 and Bahamian Jeffrey Gibson 49.42 secs. The women's equivalent went to American Kori Carter 55.12 secs ahead of Jamaica's Janieve Russell 55.29 secs and Tiffany Porter (USA) in 55.35 secs.

Saudi Arabia's Yousef Al-Masral was sublime in establishing a meet record 44.59 secs to a hotly contested men's 400 metres ahead of Olympic and World Champion LaShawn Merritt 44.80 secs and Jamaica's Javon "Donkey Man" Francis third in a personal best 44.90 secs. America, by way of Jamaica Sanya Richards Ross, ran a world leading 49.95 secs to win the women's 400 metres. She finshed ahead of Francena McCorory 50.73 secs and Stephanie Ann McPherson 50.98 secs.

The women's 200 metres was won in fine style by Bahamian Shauntae Miller in a world leading 22.14 secs defeating Tori Bowie 22.29 and World Champion Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce 22.37 secs. The men's equivalent was won by Nickel Ashmeade in 20.25 secs ahead of Rasheed Dwyer 20.28 secs and Aaron Brown 20.30. Julian Forte was 4th in 20.39 secs.