Shelly, Asafa sizzle with 100m wins at Paris Diamond League
She might as well be running in a power suit and heels given the workman-like tone of her season. And he probably needs a cape, as he looks more and more like Jamaica's likely saviour in the men's 100 metres at next month's IAAF World Championships.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is taking nothing for granted, despite having gone 10.81 or lower in three of her first five races this year, in what could be described as her best start to a season.
Asafa Powell continued his comeback crusade with a 9.81 win at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Paris' Stade de France yesterday.
Fraser-Pryce stopped the clock in 10.74 seconds - the fastest time in the world this year - as she led from the sound of the gun to the very end, winning ahead of Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, 10.80, and American English Gardner, 10.97.
Young Jamaican Natasha Morrison was seventh in 11.10.
Still, despite the positives, the Olympic and World champion isn't getting too excited, knowing all too well that races and wins like these mean precious little when the big dance starts next month.
"Races are just races. The ultimate is the championships because you can do really well on the circuit and then so many things can happen at the championships because people always show up.
"So you take nothing for granted. You just continue to work hard and keep your eyes on the ultimate goal," said Fraser-Pryce, who confirmed on Friday that she was skipping her 200m title defence to focus on the 100m at the Worlds.
Still hunting his first gold medal at a major global championships, Powell, a two-time bronze medal winner at the World Championships, kept his unbeaten start to the season intact, stopping the clock at 9.81 seconds (his 87th legal sub-10 clocking and 95th overall, including wind-aided times).
The Jamaican finished ahead of local Jimmy Vicaut, who posted a European record, 9.86, and American Mike Rodgers, 9.99. Nesta Carter was fourth in 10.02.
"I have been confident all season, so this win and this time just shows that I am getting better and better with each race, and as the season goes on, I want to stay positive and focused," Powell told The Sunday Gleaner.
Damar Forbes took first place in the men's long jump the last time this event was contested at the Paris Diamond League in 2013, and though the 24-year-old national champion didn't manage to repeat the result yesterday, he feels there's enough to be excited about.
After a sluggish start, Forbes stepped over the line and fouled on his last attempt, which incidentally seemed like his farthest jump. In the end, he settled for a best mark of 7.89m and sixth place.
The event was won by American Michael Hartfield, 8.19m, who stole the event on his very last attempt from Frenchman Kafetien Gomis, who had stepped out of the pit with a 8.13m mark and the lead a couple minutes before. Australian Fabrice Lapierre, 8.07m, was third after getting his mark on his penultimate jump.
There was also disappointment for world-leading discus thrower Jason Morgan, who continues to struggle on the Diamond League circuit, following up a fifth-place finish in Shanghai with a seventh-place stop in France after hurling the disc to 62.03m.
Piotr Malachowski, 65.57m, took first place ahead of Zlotan Kovago, 65.23m, and Gerd Kanter, 64.11m.
In the women's 400m hurdles, Janieve Russell blamed poor execution and being distracted after drawing lane two as she struggled to match the pace of World champion Zuzana Hejnova, who seems to be finding her best form after crossing the line in front in 53.76 - the second fastest time this year.
Russell posted 55.54 for seventh place while Sara Peterson, 53.99, of Denmark and Bahrain's Kemi Adekoya, 54.12, both posted national records for second and third.
Olympic champion Kirani James may have the world lead (43.95), but a day after talking about the threat of the current crop of quarter-milers, he was given first-hand knowledge as South African Wayde van Niekerk beat the Grenadian to the line, coming within touching distance of his world-leading mark with a 43.96 win.
James crossed the line in 44.17 for second, with David Verburg, 44.81, the US champion, holding off the late-charging Jamaican Rusheen McDonald, who finished fourth in 44.84. Edino Steele was eighth in 46.22.
Commonwealth champion Kimberly Williams, 14.20m, jumping in only her second competition for the year due to an injury suffered at the Jamaica International Invitational, had to leave with a sixth-place finish as Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia), with 14.87m, continued to have her way in the women's triple jump, racking up an amazing 27th-straight win in the event.
Yekaterina Koneva (Russia), 14.72m, was second ahead of Hanna Knyazheva-Minenko, 14.56m, who was third.
Cuban Orlando Ortega registered a world-leading 12.94 seconds win in the 110m hurdles ahead of David Oliver (USA), 12.98, and Russian Sergey Shubenkov, 13.06.