Elaine Thompson ‘going places’ - says Olympian Vilma Charlton
Elaine Thompson, the new sprint prospect from the University of Technology (UTech), is going places.
That's the opinion of three-time Olympian, Vilma Charlton, who describes Thompson as 'very strong'.
Charlton expects Thompson to be a contender at next month's National Championships, when the country's finest athletes will be seeking places on Jamaica's team to the World Championships in Beijing.
"I think she is going to go places", said Charlton, who was an Olympian at age 17.
"She looks very, very fluid, and she runs like a Bolt", she observed.
In a reference to the fast starts that have launched Thompson to 100-metre times of 11.10, 10.92 and 10.98 seconds at the Inter-collegiate Championships, the UTech Classic and the Jamaica Invitational, the 67-year-old Olympian said: "She gets out there from the beginning, and when she passes the pack, she keeps going. She seems to be very strong."
Thompson showed that strength last Saturday with a personal best of 22.37 seconds over 200 metres. Her previous lifetime mark was 23.09.
Now she and her illustrious training partner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, are the fastest Jamaicans over the curved sprint this year.
"I can remember Shelly-Ann was asked a question, are there any other Shelly-Anns coming up," Charlton recalled, "and she said she thinks so because there is one in her camp.
"At the time," Charlton said, "I didn't know she was referring to Thompson."
Asked to advise the young star, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) executive said: "I would say, stay humble. Stay focused, because a lot of times we lose them before they even start."
As reigning 100m and 200m World Champion, Fraser-Pryce has International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) wildcard selection to Beijing and doesn't need to run the Jamaican National Championships. Even so, Charlton thinks the women's sprint events at the Nationals will be very competitive.
"It's going to be tough, but you can't rule out VCB on the line. But it's going to be tough," she said.
Sprint stalwarts Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), Kerron Stewart, Sherone Simpson, and newcomers Remona Burchell, Christania Williams and Natasha Morrison are also possible contenders in the 100m. In the 200m, Thompson will probably face VCB and Simpson, with double Commonwealth finalist Schillonie Calvert a threat in both events if she is sharp.
Currently, Thompson is the fastest of eight Jamaican women who have surpassed the World Championship 100-metre qualifying mark of 11.33 seconds, while she and Fraser-Pryce lead a group of 10 who have already beaten the 200-metre qualifying time of 23.20 seconds.
With 2013 World Champion 4x100m gold-medal winner, Carrie Russell, yet to emerge this season, the women's sprint field is filled with quality.
In a final thought about Thompson and the upcoming national sprint battles, Charlton said: "I just wish her all the best, and I'm just happy to see the depth of talent that we have."