Jamaican creates history by leading her country to a clean sweep of the women’s 100m medals, while Dina Asher-Smith comes agonisingly close to a podium spot
In so many ways, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defies the clock. When the Jamaican superstar won the first world 100m title of her career, it was 2009, she was aged 22 and her winning time in Berlin was 10.73.
Fast forward 13 years and the 35-year-old was notching her fifth gold in the event and breaking the championships record in the process with a run of 10.67 (+0.8) in Eugene as she led a Jamaican clean sweep of the medals.
It was the third time Fraser-Pryce has produced that world-leading mark this year but this one – which saw her successfully defend the crown she won in 2019 – will have tasted particularly sweet.
Shericka Jackson has never run faster than the 10.73 which secured her silver, while Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah clocked 10.81 to complete the podium. The silver medallist of three years ago – Dina Asher-Smith – very nearly broke the Jamaican domination from lane eight but the reward for equalling her British record with 10.83 was fourth place.
It was Asher-Smith who reacted quickest to the gun, but by halfway Fraser-Pryce and Jackson had created a little daylight from the pack. Ultimately, the 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019 champion was out on her own, though, as Thompson-Herah produced just enough closing speed to thwart Asher-Smith’s ambitions.
After the home supporters’ chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” at the exploits of the male 100m sprinters the previous evening, it was the turn of the Jamaican fans to enjoy the moment. The gold medallist’s son Zyon, born in 2017, was in the stands to watch his mother become the first athlete to win five world titles in an individual running event. Aged 35 years and 201 days, she also overtook Justin Gatlin as the oldest world gold medallist in an individual track event.
“I can’t even imagine the amount of times I’ve had setbacks and I’ve bounced back and I’m here again,” she said. “I continue to remind myself that sometimes it’s not because you don’t have the ability but it’s the right time. Today was the right time. This is the third one-two-three that I’ve been a part of and I’m so excited.
“I feel blessed to have this talent and to continue to do it at 35, having a baby, still going, and hopefully inspiring women that they can make their own journey.”
For Asher-Smith, this 100m event has brought with it a welcome return to form ahead of the defence of her 200m title in Eugene. She revealed that losing her grandmother earlier this year had meant she had found it difficult to focus mentally and defeat to Daryll Neita – who missed out on qualifying for the final here by just one hundredth of a second – at the British championships had signposted that all was not well. The race sharpness is returning at just the right time, however.
“I was really happy to do what I did from lane eight but gutted not to get on the podium as I was so close,” said Asher-Smith. “It’s been an interesting season for me so far as I’ve been in good physical shape but I’ve had some life things [to deal with] and I needed to make sure my mind was here.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for me and my family. We lost our grandma. Psychologically it’s been a lot of work for me to focus. I’ve been in shape from the beginning but my brain has been elsewhere.
“I know I’ve been in better shape than my races have suggested. I feel you have to emotionally be in the room when you race and for lots of the season I couldn’t give that as I didn’t have it in me. But I’m happy that I ‘got it’ in time.”
As for the impending 200m, she wouldn’t rule out the prospect of breaking her British record of 21.88. “I’m looking forward to it because when you’re in PB shape the world’s your oyster because you really don’t know what’s possible.”
Fraser-Pryce has certainly proved that point and, when asked for her thoughts on the victor, Asher-Smith added: “She’s fantastic. To run 10.67 as a one off is one thing but to do it in a championships off the back of two other races is amazing.”
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