Great Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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Anyone who doubted that Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a great sprinter would have been divested of that thought after her performance at the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow yesterday.

That she was the clear favourite to take the 100-metre crown was not the most important aspect of the final. Rather, it was her total decimation of the quality field in a mere 10.71 seconds that has set her apart from other female sprinters, placing her at the top of global athletics as she now holds both the Olympic and World Championships 100-metre crowns for the second time in her career.

Winning back-to-back Olympic sprint titles is no easy task, yet Mrs Fraser-Pryce has done just that, taking the event at the Beijing Games in 2008 and again in London last year.

Add those achievements to her individual silver medal in the 200 metres in London last year, as well as her contribution to Jamaica's 4x100-metre gold at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, and the team's silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and what we have here is an athlete dedicated to her craft, one who performs when it matters most.

We don't believe we would be overreaching in stating that, by her accomplishments, form and sheer grit, Mrs Fraser-Pryce has placed herself as a contender for the title of the best Jamaican female sprinter of all time, even as we acknowledge the greatness of Ms Merlene Ottey and Mrs Veronica Campbell Brown.

But while we give Mrs Fraser-Pryce full credit for her determination to succeed, we cannot overlook the contribution of her coach, Mr Stephen Francis, and his support staff at the MVP Track Club. Surely, they must be filled with pride today, just as all Jamaicans are, having been thrilled by the exploits of Mrs Fraser-Pryce, who has most aptly been labelled 'The Pocket Rocket'.

They all deserve our heartiest congratulations for they have maintained the respect that Jamaica has earned worldwide from the performance of our athletes over many years.

Of course, we could not end this piece without congratulating young Ms Stephanie McPherson, who placed fourth in the women's 400 metres final yesterday.

For Ms McPherson to now be recognised as among the top four 400-metre runners in the world from just her first outing at the international level suggests that she is blessed with talent that, if properly nurtured, could see her advance up the world rankings to number one.

Ms McPherson can come away from these championships proud of the fact that she did her best and that her performance has made her one to watch.

We wish her all the best and hope that she and her teammates will reap rich rewards in the relays.




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