Shelly showed 'em!
Used blistering start to defend 200m at JII meet
Jamaica's triple World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed little rust as she sped to a 22.53 seconds time (+0.2m/2) to defend the women's 200m at Saturday's 11th staging of the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) at the National Stadium.
Fraser-Pryce, who was racing for the first time since she won the gold in the 60m at the IAAF World Indoors in mid-March, used her quick start to get away from a quality field then held them off at the end as she equalled the second fastest time of the year with American Kimberly Duncan, who was second on Saturday in 22.61 seconds. American Jeneba Tarmoh was third in 22.69 seconds.
Two World-leading performances were achieved on the night that saw sprinters running into strong head winds of up to minus 2.2 metres per second or being pushed by winds in excess of 3 metres per second at times.
Shot putter Christain Cantwell won with 21.85m, while American quartermiler Francena McCorory won a tough 400m in 50.24 seconds.
American Justin Gatlin and Nigerian Blessing Okagbare won the men's and women's 100m titles, respectively, on their first appearances at the meet while the Dominican Republic pair of Felix Sanchez in the 400m hurdles and Luguelín Santos in the 400m flat race were crowd pleasers with outstanding wins.
Fraser-Pryce, who missed the UTech Classic two weeks ago on the advice of her doctors "to rest", had the large turnout on its feet as she came off the curve well ahead of the field and powered home.
"I got some rest and came out here to compete and once I decided to line up, I am giving 100 per cent as you never know what can happen and so you seize every opportunity that you get," said the two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 100m.
Fraser-Pryce won her first major 200m title at the World Championships in Moscow last year. She stopped to watch the replay of the race on the stadium's big screen monitor and explained why she was looking at her race. "I know what I was looking for as I had my instructions from my coach," she said. "I think I did okay until the last 30 metres or so, but there are some ways to go and I am looking forward to them."
Next week, she says, she will be in Doha where she will run her first 100m of the season.
McCorory, who was also competing here for the first time, ran a well paced race to edge last year's winner Stephanie-Ann McPherson, winning in 50.24 seconds, the fastest so far in the world, surpassing McPherson's 51.23 seconds set on February 22.
McPherson was second in a season's best 50.58 seconds with 2012 winner Novlene Williams-Mills third in 50.90 seconds in her first 400m race of the season.
Cantwell, who missed all of the 2013 season with injuries. was just happy to be competing and told reporters afterwards that "I am pleased to be here". He praised the field after winning with 21.85m to beat the previous best of 21.47m set by American Joe Kovacs set on April 24.
Jamaica's O'Dayne Ricards was second in the shot put with a personal best of 21.11m, while American Kurt Roberts threw 21.07m for third.
Gatlin lived up to his own pre-race hype overtaking a fast starting Andrew Fisher to win in 10.11 seconds (-1.9m/s) as the UTech student clocked 10.21 seconds and Jamaican Nesta Carter was third in 10.22 seconds .
Fisher got out of the blocks like a shot from a gun and led until 60m before Gatlin took charge and reeled him in before getting to the line ahead of him.
Fisher told the Jamaica Observer afterwards he knew that he might be caught at the end and "had to get the start". He was, however, happy for the race. At 50 metres, he claims, he told himself to "just relax and maintain and hopefully I can get this".
The US-based Okagbare was delighted with her win, running her season's best 11.19 seconds to beat the Jamaican pair of Kerron Stewart 11.32 seconds and rising star Carrie Russell 11.46 seconds.
Jamaica' Rasheed Dwyer won the 200m, his biggest win since the World University Games title in 2011, running 20.53 seconds to edge American Curtis Mitchell (20.54 seconds) with Jason Livermore, also of Jamaica, third in 20.55 seconds.
Jamaica's World-leader Hansle Parchment got the better of World Championships medallist Ryan Wilson in the men's 110m hurdles, running 13.42 seconds to the American's 13.45 seconds with Jamaica's Moscow World Championships finalist Andrew Riley third in 13.56 seconds.
Parchment ran 13.14 seconds a week ago at the Drake Relays in Des Moines Iowa, and said he was still not 100 per cent fit and was battling a hamstring injury. "There are some little niggles here and there, but I will be OK," he said.
Great Britain's Tiffany Porter won the women's 100m hurdles in 12.92 seconds to beat Lavonne Idlette of the Dominican Republic (13.07 seconds) with Jamaica's Shermaine Williams third in 13.09 seconds.
Santos, who won the 400m here last year, won the closest race of the night when he battled American World Champion LeShawn Merritt to the line to win in 44.82 seconds, beating the big American by .04 seconds, while Youssef Al-Masrahi of Saudi Arabia was third in 44.96 seconds.
Earlier, Olympic champion Sanchez overtook IAAF World Champion Jehue Gordon on the final hurdle to win the 400m hurdles, beating his chest as he crossed the line in 49.21 seconds. Gordon, who was running his first "serious" race of the season, clocked 49.32 seconds, while Jamaica's Leford Green was third in 49.77 seconds.
American Kori Carter won the women's 400m hurdles in 54.94 seconds, her best so far this season, finishing ahead of Jamaicans Ristananna Tracey (55.12 seconds) and Nickiesha Wilson (55.61).