Monday, September 30, 2019

Doha , Qatar — Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won an unprecedented fourth 100m world title and made a strong claim as the greatest female sprinter of all time by capturing her eighth global title yesterday.

It was Jamaica's second gold medal at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations World Athletics Championships inside Khalifa International Stadium, and moved the tiny island nation into third place on the medals table with three, after the mixed relay 4x400m team had won a silver medal earlier.

The United States of America lead the table with eight medals inclusive of four gold and four silver. China are second with six medals, two gold, two silver and two bronze.

But the night belonged to Fraser-Pryce, who made a return to the track last year after giving birth to her son Zion who was born the day after the 2017 women's 100m final was won by American Torie Bowie.

Fraser-Pryce won in a world-leading time of 10.71 seconds (0.1 mps) which was just outside her national record of 10.70 seconds held jointly with Elaine Thompson, and the championship record of 10.70 seconds held by Marion Jones in 1999.

Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith snatched second in 10.83 seconds and established a new national record, while Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast won the bronze in 10.90 seconds.

Jamaica's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson finished fourth in 10.93 seconds after looking out of sorts all championships, while compatriot Jonelle Smith was sixth in 11.06 seconds.

The 32-year-old Fraser-Pryce was the toast of the stadium once again as she added a fourth title to those won in 2009, 2013, and 2015, plus three 4x100 relay crowns and a 200m gold for eight world championships titles.

In a flawless display of sprinting, Fraser-Pryce had her usual bullet start and by the time she was out of her drive phrase, the race was as good as over. She established a three-metre lead and never relinquished it.

The diminutive champion with her multi-coloured hair, collected the national flag and her son then proceeded on her victory lap around the stadium — albeit partially empty — as she soaked up the adulation from the adoring fans.

“I am really excited about tonight. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get to this part,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I remember when I found out I was pregnant, I was a wreck. I remember sitting on my bed for two hours and I didn't go to practice that morning because I didn't know what to do,” she revealed.

“I made a vow that I was coming back and a lot of persons said that I should retire and do it gracefully and I was like 'OK that's what you think'. I am always committed to who I am as a person and what I believe in and God has definitely blessed me with a talent and to be able to do it tonight is a win from above,” she added.

“Tonight I got to do something that a lot of women dream about doing to have my son and my husband in the stands watching and being able to share this with them tonight is definitely something special,” noted Fraser-Pryce.

When asked if she considered herself the greatest of all time, Fraser-Pryce had a wide smile on her face then replied: “Honestly, I don't really get caught up with all of that. For me I am just focusing on being the best I can be and continue to inspire women and young girls to understand that there is so much more we can achieve if we work hard and if we are committed.

“To have that title it's nice and all those things, but for me, I am really one of those athletes, I don't get too caught up.

“Two years ago I sat down wondering if this would be possible. In 2018 I had a lot of hit and miss and thinking about what I am going to do and to be able to actually cement what I knew would have happened last year is definitely a plus,” she added.

In the meantime Fraser-Pryce admitted that she won't be competing in the 200m, saying her coach told her that.

Meanwhile, Thompson, who finished out of the medals for the second-consecutive world championships where she finished fifth in London, said she couldn't really explain what went wrong but indicated her recurring Achilles problem made it difficult.

“The legs weren't firing I just gave it my all. I almost got the bronze, but I think I let it go at the end. But I just have to continue, stay positive, and trust the process,” she added.

“To tell you the truth I felt great during the warm up but when I went out there the body wasn't firing. I tried to get that groove but it wasn't coming,” said Thompson.

“It [Achilles problem] was acting up before I came here, but honestly I didn't put that on my brain I just said God whatever this championships gives me I will take it because it has been an up and down season with this Achilles injury.

“Sometime when I come to the track I can barely sprint. Pushing off the track is very painful for me and the last three days it was really tender pushing off the track. To start off Saturday it wasn't that bad so I wouldn't blame it too much on the Achilles... it just didn't happen tonight. I can't dwell on that, I just have to stay positive and move on.

“I want to congratulate all athletes who made it to the final. It was a good field out there and we have a medal on the podium, and I have to congratulate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,” said Thompson.

Jamaica's third entrant, Smith was just happy to make the final in her first world championships.

“I felt like I had heart. From the heats I was nervous, I was actually running my best times in the warm-up area so I had to just tell myself to keep calm and try to execute,” said Smith.

“I think I need to put together a proper 100m and hopefully it would have made the difference, but such is life. I am actually grateful for the 11.06 twice and sixth in the world; I am happy,” she added.