Fraser-Pryce demolishes field for fourth title
Jamaican proves a cut above in women's short sprint; American Taylor claims fourth triple jump gold.
Running with the zeal of a tigress in sight of her prey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce cornered the women’s 100M gold medal at the 17thWorld Championships in blazing fashion on Sunday.
At the Khalifa International Stadium, the Jamaican was in unbeatable form, with her season’s best of 10.71 seconds fetching the 32-year-old her fourth world title in the event. It was also the fastest time in the world this year.
Quick off the blocks in customary fashion, Fraser-Pryce, in lane six, collared the race well before the half-way point was reached. Dina Asher-Smith in lane seven and Marie-Josee Ta Lou in lane four gave her hot pursuit but it was clear pretty soon that this race was all about one woman.
The Jamaican’s electric strides ate up the ground in super fast time and she thundered to the finish, letting out a scream of delight as she flashed past the line, her hair leaving a blur of psychedelic colours.
Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, set a national record of 10.83 for the silver while Ta Lou, of Ivory Coast, claimed bronze in 10.90. Olympic champion Elaine Thompson faded to fourth in 10.93.
Champion in 2009, ’13 and ’15, Fraser-Pryce had missed the 2017 edition after becoming a mother. Her little son Zyon was at the stadium to watch his mum become the world champion again while the fans at the largely empty venue saw another side of a fierce, hugely motivated competitor.
“Standing here, having done it again at 32, and holding my baby is a dream come true. I was so nervous last night, I couldn’t sleep but with mental toughness you will get what you want,” said the two-time Olympic 100M champion.
Earlier, Fraser-Pryce sailed through her semifinal with minimum fuss. She clocked 10.81 seconds, cashing in on an electric start that instantly powered her into the lead. Asher-Smith also was efficiency personified, winning her semifinal in 10.87 seconds. Dafne Schippers, former 200M champion, qualified for the final, but had to pull out due to a sore adductor muscle.
The 100M final was the final act on a day of several exciting contests across both track and field. Standing out were Allyson Felix, the most decorated athlete in World Championships history, and Christian Taylor, the triple jumper supreme.
American Felix ran the second leg of a world record-setting quartet in the mixed 4×400 relay for her 12th gold and 17th medal in World Championships. The US team of Wilbert London, Felix, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry clocked 3:09.34, bettering their own time of 3:12.42 set in the semifinals. Jamaica (3:11.78) were second while Bahrain claimed the bronze in 3:11.82.
Taylor overcame some anxious moments to win his fourth triple jump gold, defeating his friend and compatriot Will Claye. Taylor fouled his first two jumps but recovered with a 17.42 leap, after Claye had produced jumps of 17.61 and 17.72.
The only man to clear 18 metres this season, Claye had a fine series of 17.53, 17.74, 17.74 and 17.66 in subsequent rounds. Taylor, however, towered over his rival, taking the lead in the fourth round with a 17.86. He improved it to 17.92, once again showing who the boss was when it came to big championships. Claye, for the second edition in a row, had to be satisfied with the silver.
Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burundi took the bronze in 17.66, an African record.
The women’s pole vault had its share of drama, with American Sandi Morris and Anzhelika Sidorova of Authorised Neutral Athletes fighting it out. Both cleared all the heights through 4.90 in their first attempts but Morris, the world indoor champion, faltered at 4.95. Sidorova soared over in her third try to seal the goal and shed tears of joy.
Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, the defending champion, had to be satisfied with the bronze at 4.85.
Elsewhere, the event lost an interesting match-up in the 200 metres, with the pull out of 100M champion Christian Coleman. The American said he had not recovered well enough to race again so soon, leaving compatriot Noah Lyles as the clear favourite.
Lyles crossed the first round easily, clocking a leisurely 20.26 seconds. Jamaican Yohan Blake (20.23) and defending champion Ramil Guiliyev (20.27) of Turkey also progressed.