Coach Walcott says Shelly’s world-lead the start of greater things to come
Jamaica’s Shelly-AnnFraser-Pryce on herway to victory inthe women’s 100mevent during the KipKeino Classic, part ofthe World AthleticsContinental Tour2022, at Kasaranistadium in Nairobi,Kenya, on Saturday.(Photo: AFP)

WHILE stating that World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was happy with her world-leading 10.67 seconds (-0.4m/s) run to win the women’s 100m at the Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Nairobi on Saturday morning, her Coach Reynaldo Walcott says this is just the start.

Fraser-Pryce dominated the field in the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series event, setting a meeting record and a Kenyan all-comers record as well, while replacing American Cambrea Sturgis (10.87 seconds) as the fastest so far in the world with the fastest-ever season-opener of any 100m sprinter in history.

It was also her third sub-10.7 seconds run in the last 12 months after she had run a then personal best 10.63 seconds at a JOA/JAAA Olympic Destiny meet at the National Stadium in early June last year.

Egypt’s Bassant Hemida was second with 11.02 seconds, a national record, while American Shannon Ray was third in 11.33 seconds.

Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma, who was expected to challenge Fraser-Pryce, pulled up and did not finish the race.

Another Jamaican, high jumper Kimberly Williamson, was fourth with a season’s best 1.88m in the event won by Great Britain’s Laura Zialor with 1.91m, the same height as Ukraine’s Oksana Okuneva.

Fraser-Pryce was quoted by the World Athletics website as saying: “It was very good, the atmosphere was fantastic. I’m not sure if it was perfect — I’d have to see the replay — but the time tells me that my training has been going great.”

Walcott, the head coach at the Elite Performance Track Club where Fraser-Pryce trains, told the Jamaica Observer Saturday that “She is very hungry, disciplined, and genuinely believes she has more to give — and this belief keeps her going to achieve that goal.”

Walcott, who said his club is open to new members, including those who seek to be mentored by world-class athletes, said: “It is definitely a positive result, a step in the right direction. She is pleased but definitely not satisfied, and you will see her continue to push the boundary of what is possible as a woman and as a mom in track and field.”

Fraser-Pryce — who was second in the 100m at the Olympic Games last year — according to Walcott, is well ahead of where she was in the last two seasons.

“She has been training above the level she was at last year and the year [before], so I guess this result today [Saturday] is the manifestation of the work she has been putting in,” he noted.

Garth Gayle, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said Fraser-Pryce’s “excellent run” was a positive, and heightens expectations for the season to come.

“Like all Jamaicans, we celebrate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s excellent run at this time in the athletics season... her performance is now paving the way for great expectations from the Jamaican women in the 100m,” he said.

Gayle said the run would also create “a buzz for next month’s National Trials”.

“The media will be focused on our trials. And at the JAAA we are very happy that our athletes have continued to perform in this post-pandemic period, and we look forward to them continuing to surge ahead and to do well as they prepare for the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” Gayle added.

Paul Reid

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