Date with destiny!
Thompson Herah hunts back-to-back titles
It has been 4,732 days since an unknown from Waterhouse, Kingston, named Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, made her first appearance for Jamaica at a major global championships.
The occasion was the heats of the women’s 100 metres at the Olympic Games in Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium. The modest 11.35 seconds run back then gave little indication of what was to come from the pint-sized sprinter.
However, the now legendary 34-year-old stands at the door of further glory, as she moves closer to becoming the only woman to win three Olympic 100m titles, when she lines up in the semi-finals of the event at the Tokyo 2020 Games, at 7:31 p.m. (5:31 a.m. Jamaica time).
Only Usain Bolt has managed to win a hat-trick of Olympic 100m titles and despite the extra bit of history at stake, Fraser-Pryce is staying committed to the process, knowing very well that no medals will be handed out in the semis.
“Honestly, I try not to put any pressure on myself, I’m sure coming into this championships I may be seen as the favourite, there are different narratives that are there, so I try not to focus on the expectations and stuff like that,” said Fraser-Pryce.
“I try to make sure that I put myself in the best position to do my best and once I am able to do that, I am grateful,” she added.
Fraser-Pryce won her heat on Friday with a comfortable 10.84 seconds run.
The United States pair of Wyomia Tyus (1964 and 1968) and Gail Devers (1992 and 1996) are the only other two women with two Olympic 100m titles.
Interestingly, for Fraser-Pryce, Tyus and Devers, those titles came in back-to-back championships, something that defending champion Elaine Thompson Herah can match with a win of her own today.
Thompson Herah’s 10.71 seconds run in her last assignment before the start of the Olympic Games puts her right in the conversation for the gold medal. Her easy 10.82 seconds winning the heats confirms her coach Stephen Francis’ declaration that she is in the form of her life heading into the championships.
“I’m feeling great, it’s the fastest I have ever opened, and I was very relaxed. I was out there talking to myself to stay in control and focused. Everything is fine and I am just taking it round by round,” said Thompson Herah.
MORE TO COME FOR JACKSON
Shericka Jackson was less dominant in her progress to the semi-finals, clocking an easy 11.07 for second place in her heat.
However, with a time of 10.77 seconds to her credit, there is much more to come for the multiple 400m medallist.
Thompson Herah will line up in lane four in the first semi-final where she will come up against Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith and Swiss sprinter Ajla del Ponte, who clocked a personal best 10.91 in the heats.
Semi-final two will feature Shericka Jackson going up against the fastest qualifier Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who stormed to 10.71 in the heats and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle Ahye who won her heat in 11.06.
The first final involving a Jamaica today will be the men’s discus medal round, which will see Chad Wright competing, after securing the final qualifying mark, with his season’s best 62.93m mark.
The men’s discus final is set for 8:15 p.m. (6:15 a.m.).
The mixed 4x400m relay team will also line up in the final of the event, which goes off at 9:35 p.m. (7:35 a.m.).
The team of Sean Bailey, Junelle Bromfield, Stacey-Ann Williams and Karayme Bartley ran third in their heat to book a spot in the final.
Yohan Blake, Tyquendo Tracey and Oblique Seville will also feature in the men’s 100m heats at 7:45 p.m. (5:45 a.m.) today with World champion Tajay Gayle and Carey McLeod contesting the men’s long jump qualifying at 7:10 p.m. (5:10 a.m.).
Meanwhile, medal contender Natoya Goule is set to feature in the women’s 800m semi-final at 8:50 p.m. (6:50 a.m.).