‘HIGH EXPECTATIONS!’
Thompson-Herah sets big targets for 2022
THOMPSON-HERAH...targets sprint double at World Championships (Photo: Observer file)

The taste of double individual gold medals at major athletics championships has left Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah salivating for more in a season that she hopes will end her wait for World Championships gold and cement her legacy as the greatest in her craft.

Her target? Total dominance at the Eugene Worlds and the 100m world record that suddenly appears to be on borrowed time after three decades of invincibility.

Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman alive over the 100m, has started the new campaign in solid form, winning in Puerto Rico with a time of 10.93 seconds on Thursday after opening her 200m season at the Jubilee Meet at the National Stadium last Saturday in an easy 22.75s.

“I am pleased. I crossed the line healthy. I never took this long to open (before) but I am just happy to get that run in. I am just happy for everything that is coming together. I ran 10.89 earlier this year and I am just happy for everything. I am just taking it step by step and race by race,” said Thompson-Herah after the Jubilee meet victory.

It’s the first steps to a campaign that many believe will take her back into the 10.54 seconds stratosphere, after her exploits at the Eugene Diamond League last year confirmed her ability to threaten the late Florence Griffith-Joyner’s mind-boggling 10.49 seconds world record clocking, done in 1988.

“My main aim is the World Championships. I really want to break the world record but I have to see where, when and how I am going to do that,” Thompson-Herah told the BBC in a recent feature.

The 29-year-old, who despite winning double sprint gold medals at successive Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020, is yet to taste podium-topping success at the World Championships level. She finished fifth in 2017 in London and at the last instalment in Doha in 2019, could only manage a fourth-place finish after issues with her Achilles tendon.

It is a streak she is desperate to end.

“I have not won a medal since 2015 at a World Championship. I won a silver (medal) in 2015 at my very first championship. I have always won gold at the Olympics and my future aim is to claim a title at the World Championships and I am heading for that goal,” Thompson-Herah said.

“If it doesn’t happen, I would still be grateful to capture a medal, but my aim is to capture the double and I am just working towards that.”

Expert thinks Thompson-Herah well-positioned to achieve season goals

Local track and field analyst and commentator, Donald Smith, believes that Thompson-Herah’s 2021 achievements will provide enough motivation to eclipse what was undoubtedly her best season ever.

“Given what Elaine did last season, becoming the second-fastest woman all time over both the 100m and 200m, expectations are certainly high for her to do even better than she did last year,” said Smith.

THOMPSON-HERAH...I really want to break the world record but I have to see where, when and how I am going to do that (Photo: Observer file)

“Two targets are in sight: 21.34s and 10.49s which should certainly serve as motivation for her, especially seeing that she was 0.05s off the 100m world record and 0.19 off the 200m world record.”

Smith expects a mega battle between Jamaica’s top-two female sprinters in 2022.

“Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a fighter and as she did in 2017 when not the favourite for the 100m at the World Championships, she found a way to remind everyone that she doesn’t run to make up numbers, but to be competitive and challenge for titles.

“The twist last year was, just as Fraser-Pryce did in Kenya over the weekend with the fastest ever season-opener run by a woman over 100m (10.67s - 0.4m/s), she cruised to 10.63s in Kingston, but ended second behind Thompson-Herah in Tokyo.

“Maybe, Elaine will have this in the back of her mind, as well that may very well push her to outdo Fraser-Pryce again.”

Like most lovers of the sport of track and field, Smith was undecided about who may become the eventual world champion in the 100m this year.

“These are two great competitors and so it may be hard to say who will come out on top at the big dance in Oregon in July.”

The National Championships to select the team to the World Athletics Championships in July will be held June 23-26.

Dwayne Richards

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