Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Shelly, Thompson lead hunt

Published:Saturday | May 30, 2015 | 12:00 AMAudley Boyd
Competitors in the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet pose for photos during a press conference in Eugene, yesterday. They are (from left) Renaud Lavillenie, Allyson Felix, Jenny Simpson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Justin Gatlin, Genzebe Dibaba, Mutaz Essa Barshim, Sanya Richards-Ross and Kirani James.

EUGENE Oregon:

SPRINT QUEEN Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the young Jamaican woman who has emerged impressively on the 100-metre circuit this season, Elaine Thompson, will be the top Jamaicans on show at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League track and field meet at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, today.

Thompson who has been hot with sub-11 clockings and a 200-metre win while racing unbeaten will run in an international or B 100m which will feature American Jenebah Tarmoh.

Multiple Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce - who has opened up over the longer sprint but hasn't started pressing on the gas as yet - races in the Diamond League 100m. This field is loaded with quality. It includes Trinidad and Tobago's world-leader Michelle-Lee Ahye (10.87), powerful Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.05), the Ivory Coast's Murielle Ahoure and the United States' battery of speedsters, Carmelita Jeter, Tori Bowie (11.13) and jumper-sprinter Tianna Bartoletta (11.26).

Fast-starting Nesta Carter is the lone Jamaican in the men's 100m while Jamaican representation also abounds in the women's 400m with world class duo Stephenie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills, men's 200m and 110 metres hurdles and the women's 800 metres.

Fraser-Pryce is wary of her low-keyed performances thus far, but takes comfort in the fact that it's all part of a process.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow. My last race wasn't so wonderful but that's part of the sport, part of the process of getting in shape and performing well," she admitted.

Asked if she'd be satisfied with anything but a win, the 'Pocket Rocket' responded: "I'd be satisfied with anything, actually .... it's the process, trusting the process. "Everybody is going out there to win and it's about who executes. If I execute and I win, I'm happy. "

She also spoke highly of her MVP training partner, Thompson.

"She's a very good athlete. She's worked very well this year, she's worked hard."

When you work hard as a result of working hard you get success, that's a given. So, I definitely think she'll go far and continue to do well throughout the season," Fraser-Pryce noted.

Ahye is the world leader after setting down a 10.87 mark, but the field is of such quality that just about anyone can win, with all registering sub-11 clockings in their careers.


High hopes


Okagbare wants another great execution.

"I'm hoping for a great race, to execute wisely and see what's going to happen," the Nigerian said.

"Everything I've been doing, in Jamaica, right here, it's just more preparation for the World Championships," she continued. "It's not about who's in the lineup or how fast you're going to run, but just to execute wisely and see what's going to happen."

Among the men, Carter, a 9.78 man, lines up against a man under the microscope, Tyson Gay, who is making his way back after a one-year ban for a doping violation and exoneration from the USATF and his countryman, Ryan Bailey, who drew the wrath of the Jamaican public for a 'cut-throat' imitation of Bolt's 'to di Worl' pose after the US sprint relay team's win at the World Relays.

In the men's 200m, seasoned Nickel Ashmeade and Julian Forte in his debut Diamond League season, look good for a placing near the runner-up group after respective 20.25 and 20.19 runs this year, with trailblazing American Justin Gatlin (20.10), awesome this season and last, looking unstoppable.

Andrew Riley will continue fighting for hurdles form in a high-stepping 110m race that should produce a crack three-way US dogfight among celebrated David Oliver (13.19 (SB)), Aries Merritt (13.29 (SB)) and Aleec Harris (13.16 (SB).

Jamaica-born Sanya-Richards Ross, with a season-best 49.59, should lead home local pair McPherson (50.98 SB), Williams-Mills (51.11 SB) and the versatile Allyson Felix in the 400m.

The men's 400m battle should be fiery, with Grenadian Kirani James and American Lashawn Merritt renewing their long-standing rivalry.