Shelly-Ann gets bye as Gayle clears air on Women’s 100m
Reigning women’s 100m World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been given a bye to defend her title at the championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, next month. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

WITH the National Athletics Championships fast approaching and the opportunity for at least one of Jamaica’s female athletes to get a bye in the women’s 100m, questions have been raised as to who would be the recipient of an automatic qualification spot to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon next month.

Garth Gayle, the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), sought to clear the air at the press conference to launch the championships held at their offices on Tremaine Road on Tuesday morning.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the gold medal in the Women’s 100m at the World Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019, which gives her automatic qualification to the event in Oregon this year; and the winner of the 2021 Women’s 100m in the Diamond League, Elaine Thompson-Herah, is also a qualifier for an automatic spot in the event.

However, World Athletics has made it clear that no one country can have two automatic spots for the same event and that the reigning World champion takes precedence over the Diamond League champion.

With that as the guideline coming down from the world body, Gayle made it clear that — just as in previous years when the situation arose with Usain Bolt and Nickel Ashmeade when Bolt, the reigning World champion, was given precedence — the JAAA would continue to support that position and award the bye to the current women’s World champion, who is Fraser-Pryce.

“I thought the question would have arisen and so I came prepared. Our governing body lays it out clearly and over the years the JAAA has always given the World champion of the previous championships and then the Grand Prix winner, in that order,” he said, while displaying a document from World Athletics.

While Fraser-Pryce’s name appears on the start list for the event on Thursday, there is speculation that she may not run and instead focus on the 200m only, as she gets ready to double at the World Championships.

A number of women are vying for spots in the women’s 100m and with a guaranteed bye, Jamaica will have four competitors in the event in July.

— Dwayne Richards

Dwayne Richards

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