Ready for battle
It has been far from a perfect season for the five-time world 100 metres champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
But after her comfortable first-round qualification yesterday, she is adamant that she will not lose her world title without a fight in what is mostly likely her final World Championships campaign, The world’s fastest woman will be determined today on the third day of the World Athletics Championships as Fraser-Pryce hunts an unprecedented sixth world title.
Fraser-Pryce clocked 11.01 seconds to win her first-round heat, believing that she did well to open her title defence.
“The first round is usually mix and match, but I think I was able to have a good one. Hopefully, it was technically sound as my coach would have liked and we just build on that, and we look towards the semi-finals and take it from there,” Fraser-Pryce said.
Fraser-Pryce hasn’t had the luxury of an ideal preparation period leading up to the championships, with an injury in May pushing the start of her season to last month at the National Championships, opening in the 200m. Her first-round heat yesterday was only the third 100m race she has done all year.
But as someone who has been through the battles many times before, Fraser-Pryce is determined to walk through them, relishing the battle to come today in her pursuit of a third consecutive world title and sixth overall
“I felt good. It has been a challenging season, nothing that I am not used to, and for me, I guess I am a warrior. I love the challenges and I live for them. Things are not always going to be a hundred, but you just need to find the strength to push through. Not kill up yourself but find the strength to push through and see what can come from that,” Fraser-Pryce said.
What is most important to her is to be able to focus on what she can influence and not be phased by things that are out of her control.
“I try not to focus on the things I cannot control and the things that are not working in my favour but trust the things that are working and work hard at those things,” Fraser-Pryce said.
Fraser-Pryce will be in the first semi-final with Daryll Neita of Great Britain. The second semi-final can be considered the group of death, featuring the top three sprinters in the world this year. World Championships 100m silver medalist Shericka Jackson will go against American Sha’Carri Richardson and Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire. Also featured will be Jackson’s countrywoman, Shashalee Forbes, with only two automatic spots available. While Jackson declined to comment in the mixed zone after her comfortable first round, Forbes, who qualified in 11.12, said that she would leave no stone unturned to book her spot in the final.
“It was a good race. It wasn’t great as planned, but I came out and I did what I had to do to qualify for the next round. I know what I am capable of in this moment. I just have to go out there and give everything,” Forbes said. Forbes’s personal best of 10.96 is tied for the 15th-best time in the world this year.
Natasha Morrison, the last member of the quartet, will be in the final semi-final with top contenders Julien Alfred of St Lucia and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith. Qualifying with a time of 11.02 and with the spotlight on the other top contenders, Morrison doesn’t rule herself out of causing a surprise.
I know I have it in me. I have been putting in the work. Everybody is training to be in that top three. The persons who execute their race as they should will be in the top three,” Morrison said.
The semi-finals begin today at 1:35 p.m. Jamaica time. The final takes place at 2:50 p.m.