The 2004 Athens Olympics was my second watching on television but my first really understanding the stories behind the athletes who were representing my country.

Like the athletes had worked for four years, so had I in trying to understand the ins and outs of the sport.

I was only 14 years old, so there was still a lot to learn but I had by then learnt very well the name Veronica Campbell.

By this time the precocious talent from Clarke’s Town in Trelawny had already won the IAAF World Youth 100 metres title in 1999 and the IAAF World Under-20 sprint double in 2000.

Those achievements were sandwiched by a silver medal as part of Jamaica’s sprint relay team at the Sydney Olympics when she was only 18 years old.

Injuries in 2001 and 2003 delayed her senior World Championship debut but between that, she won a silver medal over 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester England in 2002.

The warning signs get louder

As early as the indoor season of 2004 Veronica served warnings she would be a major force on the global scene even with a potentially long collegiate season for the University of Arkansas in prospect. 

She won the NCAA Indoor title over 200 metres, speeding to 22.43 seconds, and sending a strong signal to her competitors.

After a string of quality performances indoors and out, the former Barton County Community College athlete chose to forego the NCAA Outdoor Division One Championships to focus on her Olympic quest.

It was a master move by Campbell and her team as she took the professional route.    

I remember a particular race at the Weltklasse Golden League in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a stacked 100 metres field with Veronica Campbell among the principals.

Before the race, renowned commentator Stuart Storey said he thought the new Jamaican star could “win the Olympic title”.

Campbell finished fourth on that day, beaten by France’s Christine Aaron, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas and her Jamaican compatriot Aleen Bailey.

Storey then explained that Veronica was much better at 200 metres and that is where he favoured her for Olympic Gold.

He was right.

Around my community I listened to pot covers beating, doors and walls knocking, jumping as Veronica became the first Caribbean woman to win either a 100 or 200 Gold at the Olympic Games.

I have watched that race dozens of times since, whether it be to the stunning Caribbean voice that is Lance Whittaker or NBC’s Carol Lewis exclaiming Veronica’s devastating curve running.

For Jamaicans, the moment was massive.

The cycle of Jamaicans like Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson and Juliet Cuthbert playing second fiddle to American and European sprinters had been broken.

The Caribbean, Jamaica had its Golden queen.

She also anchored the sprint relay team to Gold which meant she was involved in three of Jamaica’s five medals, having taken bronze in the 100 metres.

With the subsequent success that Jamaica has had, led by the legendary Usain Bolt and including women like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson or the unforgettable work done by Merlene Ottey before them, it might be easy, especially for the new generation of athletics fans to miss the tremendous contribution of Veronica.

But she is truly among the greatest we have ever seen.

Will to excel on show

Her 2008 successful Olympic title defence was special, but it was her performance at the Jamaican Championships that year that will forever be etched in my mind.

Now bearing the name Campbell-Brown after her marriage to fellow Jamaican sprinter Omar Brown, she entered the Jamaican Olympic trials as the favourite for the sprint double but the world was shaken when she only placed fourth in the 100 metres despite a super-fast 10.88-second clocking.

A day later, she had to return for the 200 metres. Her Olympic aspirations hinged on that one race.

She also had to take on the three women who beat her in the 100: Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Sherone Simpson.

She did more than take them on, she beat them convincingly, clocking, still the fastest ever 200 time on Jamaican soil, 21.94 seconds.

Maybe that singular focus helped her to defend her title in Beijing and become only the second woman to defend the Olympic half-lap title.

As it stands, we will never know.

What we do know is that she produced another scintillating curve run and took Gold in a lifetime best, 21.74 seconds.

Veronica Campbell-Brown or VCB as she is now affectionately called has won eight global titles across World Championships, indoors and out and the Olympic Games.

She has a further 10 silver and 3 bronze medals, not counting her multiple global medals at the Youth and Junior levels.

She has always had a shy demeanour, but her desire to be the best has never been in question.

Outside of that tremendous run at the Jamaican Championship in 2008, VCB’s last global individual medal is also one that sticks to the memory.

In 2015 she was having a less-than-impressive year by her lofty standards.

She placed fourth in the 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

In the 200 metres, she squeezed into the final as a fastest loser, almost labouring to 22.47 seconds.

It was only the sixth-fastest going into the championship race but importantly, her fastest time since the London 2012 Olympics.

After that semi-final, it felt as if Veronica had long past her best or anywhere close to it.

One last great run

But she had, what one might describe as one last great run, and on that night in Beijing she produced it.

From lane two, she powered around the bend like the Veronica of old. Her knocked knees, a glorious reminder of her greatest days.

The curve was vintage VCB as she inched clear of favourites Daphne Schippers of the Netherlands and Elaine Thompson, who was at the time Jamaica’s newest female sprinting sensation.

The old Veronica might have taken them to the line and snatched Gold, but not on that night in Beijing.

She could no longer hold her speed through 200 metres but still, it was one of her great runs as she crossed the line third in 21.97 seconds.

It was the first time she had broken 22 seconds since the 2010 season and she hasn’t done it since, more sharp reminders of what a miracle run it was.

It might do an injustice to her amazing legacy to speak much about her injury-plagued years beyond 2015.

In any case, there might be more to come as she hopes to qualify for a sixth Olympics come the rescheduled Games in Tokyo 2021.

But if Veronica never steps foot on a track again, her legacy will be sealed.

When she defended her Olympic title in 2008, a local TV reporter, Damion Gordon wrote, “Like wine to a party, Veronica Campbell-Brown is synonymous with athletics greatness.”

That, my friend, is how VCB should be remembered and spoken of – because she is now and always will be athletics greatness.

 

Ricardo Chambers has done Commentary on international track and field, cricket and Netball since 2010. He has also done local football commentary. For feedback you can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There have been rumours that World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is no longer being coached by the MVP Track Club and the man who brought her to stardom, coach, Stephen Francis.

Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle, after winning the long jump at last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics, is now making a serious push at earning a spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan as a sprinter.

Gayle showed he was not joking when he said he might try the sprints when he turned up at the Milo Western Relays last week but could only manage a fifth-place finish in a race won by former World Record holder over 100 metres, Asafa Powell.

The placing and the time, 6.87 seconds, is not a deterrent to Gayle, as he went into the race without any significant expectations.

 “The time doesn’t really matter, I would have been satisfied with anything, even 7.0. I’m just here to get competition and experience in sprinting,” said Gayle in an interview with Jamaican Newspaper, The Gleaner.

According to Gayle, the idea that he could be making the Olympic team as both sprinter and long jumper is something that is the brainchild of his coach Paul Francis.

Francis is playing the situation by ear, saying sprinting is a part of jumping, so the process of racing would always have been included in his traditional training.

But he isn’t ruling out the possibility though.

“I can’t predict the future, we’re just trying our best to prepare him. And what will happen will happen at the Trials,” said Francis, coach at MVP Track Club and brother of the famous Stephen Francis.

Gayle though is already finding it difficult to straddle the two events, saying he hasn’t been able to work on certain technical issues like his start because he has had to focus on his jumping.

“Within technical sessions, I’m doing jumps while others are sprinting, so I don’t get the chance to work on it a lot,” he said.

Despite that, the World Champion believes his coach knows what he is capable of, even better than he does.

"If my coach says I can do it, I guess I can," he said.

Word coming out of the MVP Track Club is that Double Olympic sprint champion, Elaine Thompson Herah, will be on the track ready to defend her title in Tokyo, Japan.

Thompson Herah looked a certain possibility for a gold medal at last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha Qatar but inexplicably finished out of contention with countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce going on to win an unprecedented fourth 100-metre world title.

It was later explained, that an Achilles injury that had stymied too seasons for Thompson Herah, was back and the athlete was not able to generate the kinds of speeds that saw her win the National Championships in Kingston, Jamaica in a world-leading 10.72 seconds, or the Pan American Games gold medal in Lima, Peru.

At the time, Thompson Herah’s coach, Stephen Francis, had said while the Achilles problem was a recurrent one, on this occasion, it was caused by calf tightness and that she would get over it without surgery.

Thompson Herah still managed a fourth-place finish in Doha but had to pull out of the 200 metres, for which she had already made the semi-final. She would take no further part in the tournament.

According to MVP Track Club President, Bruce James, who spoke to local newspaper, The Gleaner, Thompson Herah is looking better than just injury-free.

“Elaine has returned to training and is looking set to be in fully fit form long before the Olympics in Tokyo,” said James.

How many races it will take Thompson Herah to get back to her best is yet to be ascertained but James is still of the belief that all will be well.

That’s not a decision that is made in January but we are just pleased to know that she’s in training and looking so good,” he said.

A motor vehicle accident in Florida last week has not slowed World Championship sprint relay gold medallist Jonielle Smith too much as the Jamaican is already back in training ahead of her bid to make the team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

According to reports, the vehicle Smith was driving, was rear ended, causing a spin that led to a second collision.

Though the car was badly damaged, it was reported that neither Smith, nor the two family members she was travelling with, were badly injured.

Smith, a standout at high school for Wolmer’s Girls in Jamaica’s biggest track and field championships, ran the third leg on Jamaica’s gold medal 4x100-metre team at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar last year and finished sixth in the 100-metre final there.

Smith also recently graduated from Auburn University where she also had a more-than-creditable time on the track.

Despite earning a historic World Championship silver medal and a World Athletics Diamond League win in 2019, Jamaican triple jumper Shanieka Ricketts will be tweaking her preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

According to Ricketts coach and husband, Kerry Lee Ricketts, Shanieka will be working on more technical advances to her jumping, which will mean she competes less ahead of the Olympics.

That method is in stark contrast to the way Ricketts approached last year when she had what has been her most successful season to date.

Ricketts competed in 15 meets last year but her coach says she won’t need as many this time around.

“We won’t need many meets. I think she will probably open at either the Jamaica [International] Invitational if it has a triple jump or the Racers Grand Prix,” said coach Ricketts.

Ricketts pointed out that last year, there was a lot of testing to see what worked and what didn’t.

Now that the testing is over, Ricketts says there is no need to jump as much.

“This year, it’s not so much testing, it’s more of preparation, so we’re just basically going to prepare, prepare, prepare,” he said.

Shanieka Ricketts has been hunting for marks over 15 metres, getting closer with her personal best 14.93 metres. To get there, her coach believes she needs to get her final phase right, something that while there has been improvement, accounting for consistently bigger jumps, she still hasn’t nailed down.

“We’ve been putting in a lot of work in the last phase and we haven’t gotten it yet and we still have some work to do,” said the coach.

“It’s a learning process where, you know, you learn A and then you move on to B. You can’t learn A and B at the same time,” he said.

Pioneering marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and U.S. hurdler Dalilah Muhammad were named the world athletes of the year in track and field at a ceremony in Monaco on Saturday.

At the awards ceremony, Jamaican Brittany was presented with a plaque for breaking the World under-20 100-metre hurdles record.

Anderson, who won gold in the event at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships, twice broke the record at the Motonet Grand Prix in Joensuu, Finland on July 24.

The 18-year-old clocked 12.79 in her heat before winning the final in 12.71 seconds.  

Kipchoge was winning the award afer he became the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon, though the feat wasn’t officially recognized as a world record. That’s because he ran on his own, with a rotating group of pacemakers and in strictly controlled conditions. Kipchoge’s only competitive race this year came when he won the London Marathon in April.

“I am happy to be the first human being to run under two hours. I hope that I inspired a lot of generations,” Kipchoge told the awards ceremony via video link.

Muhammad won world championship 400-metre hurdles in world record time. She earlier broke the record in July at the United States championships.

“It’s been an amazing year. I’m so thankful to be here,” she said.

Muhammad beat fellow nominees Brigid Kosgei, who broke the women’s marathon world record, Sifan Hassan, who won world gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who claimed gold over the 100 metres at the World Championships.

The world 5,000-metre silver medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia was named male rising star of the year, while Ukrainian high jump silver medalist Yaroslava Mahuchikh was the female rising star. Anderson was also nominated in the category.

2008 Olympic sprint hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson says she was once told that because of her skin colour she might not get the recognition her accolades deserved.

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

From the moment Tajay Gayle took off to when his feet kissed the sandpit, everyone who witnessed the jump knew, once the white flag came up signifying a legal effort, that something amazing had occurred. The scoreboard matched expectations, as the mark of 8.69m appeared to set tongues wagging inside the Khalifa International Stadium and around the world.

Meet Jamaica’s newest star who produced the jump of his life, the tenth best of all-time, to win the men’s long jump at the World Athletics Championships, Doha 2019.

The multi-talented Gayle hails from August Town, a tough inner-city community in Eastern St. Andrew, where life can be a daily struggle. Track and field saved him.

We are sitting in the lobby of the opulent Curve Hotel in Doha and the usually laid back Gayle uncharacteristically moves closer to the recorder and, like a history professor, spoke about his journey for 48 uninterrupted minutes.

Early trust in coach

It all started at Papine High School, the same institution that produced 2016 World U20 champion Tiffany James. However, the soft-spoken Gayle, unlike his celebrated teammate James, was a late bloomer who competed in several events before finding his niche.

“I started as a sprinter,” said Gayle. “I did not take the sport seriously my first three years in high school. I was not training properly; I was going there to have fun. However, Coach Shanieke Osbourne saw something in me that I did not see. From then I trusted her and did what I was told.”

He first competed at the Jamaican High Schools’ Boys and Girls Championships in 10th grade contesting the high jump. The following season he began to show a deep affection towards the long jump and added it to his range.

“I was always winning the long jump at our annual school sports day and perhaps that’s what Coach Osbourne saw and started to encourage me. I prefer the long jump over the high jump because the high jump is too technical and I don’t like to turn my back to stuff,” Gayle said with a chuckle.

Gayle failed to make either the horizontal or vertical jump finals at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in 2014. The following year, his final time competing at the championships, he bowed out showing his vast repertoire. “My coach told me that I can excel in any event. She pointed out that I am a very technical person and a fast learner and she wanted me to try the decathlon.”

After amassing 5987 points to finish seventh overall, he was quite happy to create history as the first male to contribute points for his school at the annual championships. Gayle highlighted that the performance that stood out for him in the gruelling contest, though wind-aided, was the 6.94m in the long jump.

2018 NACAC silver

After leaving Papine High, he enrolled at the University of Technology, an institution renowned for producing world-class athletes, but just like in high school, he began competing in the high jump. One day his watershed moment arrived, fortuitously.

“I turned up for practice and noticed that the high jump mat was wet. I turned to the coach and said it does not look like I am going to train today because there is no landing area. He instructed me to do some long jump practice instead. I went over and joined the group who were doing some twelve strides run ups. I remember jumping 7.29m that day which was a big surprise because my PB before that was 6.54m.”     

On 11 February 2017, Gayle joined the eight-metre club, but could not attain the qualifying standard for the London World Championships. Gayle developed into a fierce competitor in 2018 and after a fourth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games, he won silver at the NACAC Championships in Toronto where he leapt 8.24m, a then lifetime best.

The newly minted world champion had an auspicious start to his 2019 season winning his first four competitions. His first victory at the Grenada Invitational in April, where he cut the sand at 8.20m, came as a cameo appearance because he was in a race against time. “I only had two jumps, 8.04m and 8.20m and then I had to leave because I had a plane to catch. My flight was departing in three hours.”

Back-to-wins in China set the early 2019 stage

A month later, he travelled to China where he carved out two important victories, one at the IAAF Shanghai Diamond League and another 48 hours later at the inaugural Nanjing World Challenge meeting, which took place separately as a “street meet” at a local shopping mall. “This was the best meet for me,” said a delighted Gayle, who won off his last attempt with 8.21m.

“Everything about the meet was nice. The large crowd was very close, so you could feel the energy, the lights and music were just awesome. It was a great experience and I would like to jump at another street event.”

Ten days later at the Bauhaus-Galan IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, Gayle endured a chilling encounter that almost froze his soaring ambitions. “The Stockholm meet was very, very, very cold. I tried my best to take the conditions off my mind but it was too cold. I jumped a wind-aided 8.05m, finished fifth and strained a tendon under my right knee. That night my leg was swollen, and I was unable to walk freely. It took me over an hour to get to the physiotherapist downstairs, but thankfully a lady, who thought I was dying, stood by me the whole time until my physiotherapist came.”

Consistency continues with Pan-Am Games silver

A fast healer, Gayle recovered sufficiently to chalk up some solid performances including winning the Jamaican national title, his first after three attempts, followed by a lifetime best of 8.32m at the Müller Anniversary Games in London and a silver medal at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, behind Cuban sensation Juan Miguel Echevarría.

“It was in Lima that I started to believe I could jump 8.40s and 8.50s,” Gayle stated.

“Even though it was cold and I was slightly loaded, I had a big jump which was ruled a foul by a toenail, but I didn’t let it get to me, I took the decision and moved on from there knowing I was right where I wanted to be.”

Training through the Diamond League final

The Diamond League final in Zurich served as a final warm-up encounter before the World Championships. However, Gayle admitted his goal was not achieving the lucrative prize. “I was never prepared to win that meet. My focus was Doha, and I was still loaded.”  

The 23-year-old spent the next three weeks practising the hitch kick technique and arrived in Doha with full confidence.

Troubles in Doha qualifying

His campaign almost ended prematurely as he only qualified in last place for the final. “When I jumped 7.89m, I started to get nervous wondering if I made the finals. I am near-sighted and so I could not see the scoreboard clearly. It was my close friend Henry Frayne from Australia, who came and told me that I had qualified.”

Notwithstanding, Gayle was grateful and promised a better showing in the next round. “Honestly, I am not sure what went wrong. My coach (Stephen Francis) and I had been practising some different flight techniques and landings recently. Maybe I was overthinking that part too much and forgot about my run-up as I made a few mistakes. I was happy to make the final though because I was going to give it my all even if I ended up pulling a muscle.”

With the mistakes in qualifying shelved, Gayle did not bother clouding his mind with executing all areas of his technique when he looked down the runway for his opening round. He concentrated on one thing only, which was the advice drilled inside his head by Francis. “Your run-up is the main thing; use your speed against them.”

“I was the third jumper, I expected to be first, and I told myself that I was going to get this on my first jump. I also did something out of character, I started to walk around and point to the crowd to get some vibes. Afterwards, I started talking to myself saying speed and power, speed and power. Then I took off.”

Feeling the speed

His first-round effort of 8.46m improved his PB by 14 centimetres and catapulted him into the lead. However, when he uncorked his 8.69m in the fourth round, he killed the competition stone dead.

“As a jumper, you feel the difference between jumps. On this jump, I felt the speed, I felt the last two steps and height and when I landed, I heard the crowd roar and I said this is a big one and did not even bother to look back. Afterwards, I did not try to prove anything by jumping again once I realised no one could challenge my mark, so I skipped my fifth and six rounds because winning was all that mattered to me.”

After his victory, a number of his competitors were singing his praises including dethroned world champion Luvo Manyonga of South Africa.

“Wow! I saw it coming,” Manyonga said. “I have been watching him throughout the season and he is so calm and collected. He is that underdog but when it comes to competition, he is just talking to himself, very composed and doing what matters. I was expecting something from him but not that far; it caught us all by surprise.”

Tajay Gayle’s gold medal for Jamaica in the long jump at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar was a surprise to everyone – except for Tajay Gayle.

Gayle knew he had big jumps in him even as he just barely made it into Saturday’s long jump final, registering 7.89 to be the last competitor to book a place.

He knew what he had to do, run faster.

On Friday during the qualification round, there was much more swirling through the 23-year-old’s head. He was overthinking. Gayle was worried about getting the mechanics right after he took off toward the pit, making sure he extended right, lent away at the right time, got the most out of his run up. But that was dragging the cart before the horse, it did not work.

“Yesterday I made a small mistake and I worried about the jump,” the history-making Jamaican told a press conference after he claimed gold on Saturday.

But Saturday was different, on Saturday, he focused on the horse.

“Today I was focused on only one thing. That was the run-up and it was working perfectly,” he said.

Gayle would put the field under pressure with his first jump, the Jamaican reaching out to 8.46 metres, a big improvement on his 8.32 personal best.

The field would never get there, but Gayle, who had two fouls after that, was not done yet.

He would reach out towards the pit on his fourth jump and find he had gone even farther, farther than anyone in that field had ever gone.

“I’m not sure what happened, but in any case, I’m very grateful. I just was faster doing my run-up,” he said simply, as if running faster could explain the heady heights he was able to reach.

But the achievement has not been lost on the young man.

“I got here, did a personal best and a Worlds’ gold” he said, indicating that his World Championships experience could not have gone any better.

“I would have loved to put a personal best under my first victory at the World Championships.”

Gayle bested a crack field, including Miguel Echevarria of Cuba, who achieved some big wind-aided results this year and should have been a shoe-in for gold. He also dethroned Luvo Mayonga of South Africa, all while jumping to a distance they had never legally done.

But to do that, Gayle had to forget his competitors, their accolades and previous achievements, and focus on being the best Tajay Gayle he could.

“I have never worried about anything else, but myself,” he said, again, simply.

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who has a big chance at an IAAF World Championships of Athletics medal this year, had a few anxious moments on Saturday, as a bump from Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi threatened to keep her out of Monday’s final.

Goule, looking comfortable for the first 600 metres, rounded Nakaayi, Kenya’s Jepkoech Sum and had been taking aim at the United States’ Ce'Aira Brown when she was bumped by the Ugandan, who wanted to make a hole after being boxed in.

Nakaayi had earlier interfered with Brown as well, trying to pass her on the inside of lane one but found no way through.

Her frustration boiled over and she lashed out at the surging Goule at the top of the final corner. Goule lost her rhythm and was not able to cash in on the momentum she had built from 150 metres out, but she did manage to stay with the leaders to finish fourth in the race in a time of 2:00.33 seconds. That time was quick enough to earn her a place in the final as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

Nakaayi leads all qualifiers with her season’s best 1:59.35, while the United States’ Ajee Wilson, 2:00.31 was comfortably through, in her heat, as was her teammate Raevyn Rogers, 1:59.57.

Kyron McMaster almost failed to put his talent on full display on the world stage for the second major meet in a row after he was disqualified from the 400 metre hurdles in Doha, Qatar for a hurdles infringement, only to be re-instated later.

McMaster, one of the five or six best 400 hurdlers in the world at this point, seemed to want to make a statement in his semi-final heat on Saturday and stormed out of the blocks so quickly he slammed into the first hurdle and almost did not recover.

The US Virgin Islands athlete still managed to finish third in the heat, clocking 48.40 behind the fast finishing Brazillian Alison Dos Santos, 48.35, and Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, 48.39.

McMaster had initially been labelled with a disqualification but successfully appealed the decision.

In a previous World Championships, McMaster, then the quickest in the world with some mid-47-second runs, failed to negotiate a hurdle properly and was deemed to have breeched the same rule. On that occasion there was to be no reversal.

In the meantime, McMaster’s rivals over the distance have all made it to the final.

Karsten Warholm, the man who has gone fastest this year and is the second fastest 400 hurdler in history won his heat comfortably in 48.28, while Rai Benjamin showed he was in better shape than Abderrahman Samba, beating the former world number one to the line in 48.52. Samba would stop the clock at 48.72.

The other man from the Caribbean in the event, Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt, struggled in the semi-final, finishing seventh in 49.32 to bring an unwelcome end to his World Championships experience.

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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