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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Impressive Empress!

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 9:00 AMGregory Spalding
World 100 metres champion, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, displays her gold medal at the presentation ceremony.
Jamaica's gold medal winner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (centre), Veronica Campbell-Brown (right) and The Netherlands' Dafne Schippers compete in the women's 100m final.
Jamaica's 4x400m women's team (from left) Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Shericka Jackson and Christine Day celebrate their gold medal triumph at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, China, at the 2015 World Athletics Championships on Sunday, August 30.
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No matter how hard rivals come, it seems no one can depose the Empress of Speed from her perch atop world sprinting.

With a record-breaking third consecutive World women's 100m title to add to her successive Olympic 100m titles, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, not unlike Usain Bolt, was in super form at the World Championships. No woman in history can boast as many global 100-metre titles.

She copped the title in her pet event and returned for two rounds of impressive sprinting with compatriots, gaining Jamaica a championship record-winning anchor in the 4x100m relays.

Fraser-Pryce first revealed herself to the world at the Bird's Nest Stadium seven years ago, striking 100m gold at the 2008 Olympic Games, and she has largely dominated her event since then.

Twenty four hours prior to her World Championships 100m final in Beijing, it was Bolt who maintained his substantial status, and a day later, it was the turn of Fraser-Pryce, as she added to her growing legacy as possibly the greatest female sprinter in history.

The 100m title in Beijing was also her sixth World Championship gold medal and Fraser-Pryce now sits as the woman with the second highest total of golds in the 32-year history of the Championships.

She is one medal clear of five-time World champions Gail Devers, Sanya Richards-Ross and Tirunesh Dibaba, and two behind US sprinter Allyson Felix, who sits atop of the pile with eight gold medals in total.

Sporting an unusual look of greenish hair with yellow sunflowers on the fringe of her forehead, Jamaica's 28-year-old darling executed with uncanny perfection to reach top speed quicker than rivals out of the blocks, in spite of her reaction time being the sixth best on the day of the final.

By the 30m mark, commentators were calling it. The 'Pocket Rocket' had already established a gap on her rivals with her team captain Veronica Campbell-Brown and teammate Natasha Morrison in the mix.

Fraser-Pryce stopped the clock at 10.76, 0.06 shy of the championship record, the second-fastest time in the world this year and a mark only she has beaten in 2015. The inspired Dafne Schippers was second in an improved Dutch mark of 10.81.

Behind the leading two were the USA's Tori Bowie, edging Campbell-Brown for the bronze in 10.86.

While the stats may not show it, the tale of the video tape bears evidence of Fraser-Pryce's dominance in the main event for women. At 90 metres, she had a sufficient gap to strike up a celebratory raise of the right arm, which concretised an expected victory.

 

Leading from the front

 

Veronica Campbell-Brown, the former 100m World Champion of eight years ago, competing in her fifth IAAF World Championships, rolled back the hands of time to run an impressive 10.91 while leading the team from the front.

She displayed the heart of a champion in the 200m event. She reached the final only by taking the second and last non-automatic qualifier's place, running 22.47 then. In the final, she mustered the strength of character and limb to improve by a half-second, running the steepest of curves to register 21.97 in a bronze medal winning effort.

Campbell-Brown's performance, given age and form, is ranked as one of Jamaica's best at the Championships.

Elaine Thompson gave a silver medal winning exhibition of top-class sprinting in the 200m. The Championship rookie gained highest marks for her 21.66 return in only her third World Championship race.

Schippers, in winning the 200m in 21.63, becomes the third-fastest woman of all time at the distance behind Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones. She ran the fastest time in the world for 17 years. Thompson moved to fifth on the world all-time list, but missed Merlene Ottey's Jamaican record by a mere two-hundredths of a second.

Commendations cannot be too much for Natasha Morrison and Sherone Simpson, who were also finalists at 100m and 200m, respectively.

In the 4x100m, VCB would join effort with Morrison, Thompson and Fraser-Pryce to defeat the US team that ran the same four and same order as the heat - Gardner, Felix, Jenna Prandini and Jasmine Todd.

For a second time in two nights, VCB produced a fast start and an outstanding bend, but this time and by the time she handed over to Morrison for the second stage, Jamaica were in the ascendancy. By the time Thompson handed to Fraser-Pryce, eyes were on the clock.

Jamaica came home in 41.07, breaking their own championship record and taking over the world lead from the United States. The time was more than two-tenths quicker than the championship record they had run in Moscow two years ago.

 

Quality Quartet

 

The 400m for women saw four Jamaicans, two Americans and one Bahamian against Great Britain's defending champion, Christine Ohuruogu.

While Allyson Felix was her silky smooth self in winning in a time of 49.26, it was Shericka Jackson who proved the best of the Jamaican quartet in the final.

Jackson trimmed 0.04 from the personal best she set in the semi-final, to post 49.99 for the bronze.

Christine Day also set a lifetime best of 50.14 in fourth, with 2014 Commonwealth champion, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, fifth in 50.42, followed by 2014 Diamond Race winner, Novlene Williams-Mills, sixth in a season's best of 50.47.

When it mattered most, Williams-Mills overtook Francena McCorory in the closing metres of the 4x400m relays to lead Jamaica to victory on the closing night of the IAAF World championships, Beijing 2015.

Reversing the result at the IAAF World Relays in May, the 33-year-old Williams-Mills anchored Jamaica to a world leading time of 3:19.13. Thanks also to a brilliant second leg run by Jackson, which laid the foundation for Jamaica's victory and announced an imposing outlook for the nation's athletic future.