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Simpson says sprint schedule could aid Thompson Herah

Published:Thursday | July 15, 2021 | 5:54 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
THOMPSON HERAH
THOMPSON HERAH

Elaine Thompson Herah will be far more comfortable with the Olympic sprint schedule than she was at the 2019 World Athletics Championships. That’s the insight from 2008 Olympic 100m runner-up Sherone Simpson. She says that rest days between the...

Elaine Thompson Herah will be far more comfortable with the Olympic sprint schedule than she was at the 2019 World Athletics Championships. That’s the insight from 2008 Olympic 100m runner-up Sherone Simpson.

She says that rest days between the 100 and 200m, and between the 200 and the 4x100m relay, will give Thompson Herah a better chance to be at her best.

The 200m began the day after the 100-metre final at the World Championships and Thompson Herah did not appear for her 200m semi-final race due to Achilles tendon discomfort. Simpson believes the 29-year-old sprinter will benefit from the change.

“I think it will help her,” Simpson said. “The Doha schedule, that was very tight. I think Tokyo is a much better schedule, so it works in Elaine’s favour.”

In Tokyo, the 100m starts on July 30 with the heats, and the semi-finals and final set for July 31. The 200m begins on August 2 with the heats and semi-finals. The final is on August 3. In addition, the 4x100m heats are set for August 5.

DEFENDING HER TITLES

Those two rest days may help Thompson Herah as she seeks to defend her Olympic titles under the pressure that all reigning champions must face.

“Even though she is not in the spotlight right now, she is the defending champion, double,” Simpson said. “So yes, persons are still going to look to see if Elaine can defend her title. So, yes, I do think some pressure is there.”

Thompson Herah has struck a rich vein of form since she placed third to Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in both sprints at the National Senior Championships last month. She logged her second-fastest time ever, 10.71 seconds, to beat Fraser-Pryce on July 6, and earlier this week she won the 200m at the Gateshead Diamond League meet in England.

Simpson dismissed the notion that the unaccustomed presence of Jackson in the sprints might affect Thompson Herah.

“Elaine is strong mentally and she just has to focus on herself,” she said. “Yes, Shericka is there running fast, but she cannot think about Shericka, especially at this time, going into the Olympics to defend her titles.”

Jackson has a splendid record at 400m. She won two World Championships bronze medals over the 400m distances and in 2016, she took third place in the one-lap event at the Olympic Games in Rio. However, in a surprise shift, Jackson split Fraser-Pryce and Thompson Herah at last month’s National Championships, and produced personal-best 100 and 200m times of 10.77 and 21.82 seconds, respectively.

sports@gleanerjm.com