Elaine Thompson-Herah looks a woman who is back to her fabulous best.

Early in an Olympic year, she is already producing very fast times and all things being equal where injuries and loss of form are concerned, she should be challenging for two Olympic titles in Tokyo next year.

Thompson-Herah, not unlike a certain Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, rose from relative obscurity to beat the world and this may be courtesy of another great Jamaican in the field of athletics, her coach, Stephen Francis.

Who can forget the World Championships of 2015 when Thompson-Herah, then just Thompson, finished second in one of the greatest women’s 200-metre races of all time.

Just a year earlier, Thompson’s best over 200 metres had been 23.23, but she had shown promise over 100 metres, clocking 11.17 in 2014, before lowering that to 10.84 at a meet in Eugene not long before the World Champions.

It was something of a surprise that she would not be contesting the 100 at the World Championships, with Francis setting her up to run the 200 in Beijing, China.

Thompson had not run that many 200s and while Jamaicans were quietly hopeful that she could get on the podium, it was not a certainty.

In May of that year, Thompson had run 22.37, but while quick, it was slower than the times of The Netherland’s Dafne Schippers and the United States’ Candice McGrone, who had run 22.09 and 22.08 seconds respectively at a Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

That is until eight days after that meet when Thompson ran 22.10 to be hot on their heels.

On the 26th of August 2015, Thompson cruised through heat 4 in Beijing to win in 22.78 seconds.

For someone, who a year earlier hadn’t broken 22 seconds, she looked good.

But Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain was quick, qualifying with a personal best 22.22, while Schippers looked smooth, shutting down long before she would end her heat in 22.58 seconds.

The race was wide open.

On August 27, Thompson showed she was in just as good a form as the 22.10 personal best she had run earlier in the year, clocking 22.13 to get the better of McGrone, who finished in 22.26 to march into the final with the quickest time.

Schippers with 22.36 was also comfortable, looking like she could go a lot faster.

Asher-Smith was faster too, stopping the clock at 22.12 seconds for yet another personal best.

The following day, Friday, August 28, 2015, produced, arguably the most exciting 200 the world had ever seen.

Thompson, was out of the blocks in a hurry, running a blinding curve to leave everybody in her wake coming off the curve.

The time was going to be fast. Very fast.

But Thompson wasn’t at her strongest yet and though she has never run faster, she faded toward the end, with Schippers, using her formidable heptathlon strength to close like a train.

Nobody else was in the frame.

Schippers was closing and Elaine began straining, just at the line, the Dutchwoman dipped, the difference was .03 of a second.

Thompson was second in 21.66 seconds, Schippers was a World Champion in a championship record 21.63.

Another Jamaican, Veronica Campbell-Brown, with a season’s best 21.97, was also on the podium. The time, though not as quick as Campbell-Brown had gone in her life, was the quickest she had gone in a very long time, the experienced legs of the many-time world-beater, finding a way to get onto the podium.

Behind Campbell-Brown, were McGrone in 22.01, and Asher-Smith, in a national record, 22.07.
Though Thompson did not win, the race signalled the birth of a star.

After not competing for nine months, 2016 Olympic double gold medallist, said she felt rusty after finishing second at the Velocity Fest track meet held at Jamaica College in Kingston on Saturday.

Thompson, 28, led down the home stretch in the 200m before World Championship 400-metre bronze medallist Shericka Jackson overhauled her late to cross the finish line in 22.89.

Thompson clocked 22.98 for second while Sprintec’s Shashalee Forbes was third in 23.45.

Though she may have been disappointed at losing, Thompson seemed quite content if her Instagram is anything to go by.

“Back on the track after 9 months is a good feeling,” the 2015 World Championship silver medallist said.

“I am a little rusty but a girl is to take on any obstacles in her way.”

The 200m race was also her first race since she married track coach Deron Herah on November 2, 2019.  “Am racing as a wife for the first time am so happy,” she said.

“Lord you are worthy. I hope for nothing but health and healing.”

Illness and injury have blighted the career of the 2019 Pan Am Games 100 champion. Along with MVP teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser, Thompson was among the favourites to win a medal in the 100m finals in Doha. This was especially true after she stormed to victory at the Jamaican National Championships in June.

Her winning time of 10.73 was the fastest in the world and was only surpassed by Fraser-Pryce on her way to an unprecedented fourth world title in Doha. Thompson, meanwhile, aggravated a long-running Achilles-related injury and finished fourth in 10.93.

She will be hoping that she will find better fortune at the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July 2021.

Decorated 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, clocked a world-leading 11 seconds at the Velocity Fest meet in Kingston, on Saturday, as athletes slowly start returning to the track.

Running into a -2.2m/s headwind, Fraser-Pryce, the former MVP athlete, stopped the clock at 11.00 flat, well clear of Sprintec’s Shashalee Forbes who was second in 11.49.   Bahamas’ Anthonique Strachan was third in 11.84.  In the men’s equivalent, MVP’s Nesta Carter clocked 10.38 to only just edge out Tumbleweed’s Tyquendo Tracey and G.C Foster’s Romario Williams, who both clocked 10.39 for second and third respectively.

Over double the distance, MVP’s Shericka Jackson ran 22.89 to finish heat three ahead of teammate Elaine Thompson, who clocked 22.98, with Forbes third in 23.45.  The men’s 200m went to Julian Forte, who clocked 20.71 running into a negative headwind.  He finished ahead of Rasheed Dwyer, 21.06, and Romario Williams, 21.07.

In the women’s hurdles, Janieve Russell (57.29) dominated affairs, claiming the event comfortably ahead of Rhona Whyte (57.97).  In the 100m hurdles, Megan Tapper won the event in 13.25, ahead of Amoi Brown, who was second in 13.46s.

World long jump champion Tajay Gayle topped his pet event with a wind-assisted 8.52m (4.5m/s).  Doha 2019 triple jump silver medallist, Shanieka Ricketts, claimed that event with 14.11m.

 

 

A number of World Champions from the 2019 World Championships in Doha are reportedly being lined up for the Jamaica International Invitational set for May 2, 2020.

A world-class cast of athletes including double-Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah, world-champion Anderson Peters and fast-rising teen star Briana Williams, have been confirmed for the 2020 edition of the Grenada Invitational that was launched on Wednesday at the Radisson Beach Resort, St. George’s.

Injured Jamaican sprinter, double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson will not know what her recovery will look like for another two weeks.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce looks in ominous shape ahead of the women’s 100-metre semi-finals trotting to a 10.80-second clocking in Doha, Qatar on Saturday.

Running in heat one, Frazer-Pryce led from start to finish to stay ahead of Murielle Ahouré of the Ivory Coast, who finished in a smart 11.05.

Germany’s Gina Lückenkemper (11.29) locked up the third automatic qualifying spot while Poland’s Ewa Swobada, also 11.29, finished fourth for one of the non-automatic qualifying spot.

There were two other qualifications to the semi-finals for the Jamaicans as Elaine Thompson was fairly comfortable in winning her heat in 11.14 seconds ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.21) and the United States’ Morolake Akinosun.

Another Jamaican, Jonielle Smith, is also through to the semi-finals, running 11.20 for third in her heat behind Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, 10.96, and the United States’ English Gardner, 11.20.

The Bahamas Tynia Gaither is also through to the final after her 11.24 seconds fourth place in that heat gave her a non-automatic qualification spot.

The Netherlands Dafne Schippers, who has always been there or thereabout, won the final heat in 11.17 seconds, with the United States’ Teahna Daniels (11.20), Gambia’s Gina Bass (11.25) and Great Britain’s Imani Lansiquot (11.31) joining her.

Defending champion, Tori Bowie (11.30), has struggled this season but she too is through to the semi-finals after finishing third in a heat won by Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji (11.17). Xiaojing Liang of China (11.18) was second in that heat, leading until the last 10 metres.

Marie-Josée TA LOU also showed she was in good form, running a personal best to win her heat in a very handsome 10.85. She finished ahead of Daryll Neita of Great Britain ((11.12), Germany’s Tatjana Pinto (11.19), China’s Yongli Wei (11.28), and Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel (11.30), who will all line up in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

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