Bright signs for Shelly-Ann
Jamaican fans breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday when double world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100 metres at the Prefontaine Classic. Her usual rocket start propelled her to a world-leading time of 10.81 seconds. They shouldn't have worried so much.
At the Jamaica Invitational, the little one lowered her 200-metre seasonal best from 22.96 to 22.37 seconds. That huge step forward showed how fit she is in 2015. She and coach Stephen Francis are clearly tuning her training to really fast races in August. That's when Beijing hosts the World Championships.
As reigning world champion, Fraser-Pryce holds what the IAAF calls 'wild card' automatic selection to Beijing. So like fellow double world champion Usain Bolt, and 2014 Diamond League winners Novlene Williams-Mills and Kaliese Spencer, she need not compete at the Jamaican Championships at the end of the month. Her target for peak performance is further away.
Fast as anyone else
After a long trip from Kingston to Shanghai, she looked tired in the 100 metres there and produced a modest time. The Prefontaine run revealed that the 2015 Fraser-Pryce is as fast as anyone out there.
Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast and American Tori Bowie who clocked 10.81 and 10.82 seconds just behind Fraser-Pryce at the Classic, young American English Gardner and Shelly's very fast protege Elaine Thompson, each with Saturday runs of 10.84 in the B race, and Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, (10.87) are all formidable. So are former world 100 metre world champions Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown, 2013 runner-up Ahoure and European champion Dafne Schippers of Holland. So is Fraser-Pryce.
She runs today at the Rome Diamond League meet there, in the 200 metres. It's a race that may convince her to defend her 2013 World title in the event. Whatever she decides, runs at 200 metres bolster her ability to finish well in the 100 and make an extension of her world supremacy in the straight sprint more likely.
n Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980.