Fraser-Pryce welcomes Schippers, Thompson threats
Jamaica sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says this will likely be her final Olympic Games, However, the 29 year old is very excited about the prospect of becoming the first female to win a historic three Olympic 100m gold medals.
She is also looking forward to facing the new sensation Daphne Schippers of the Netherlands and other rising stars of the sport.
Schippers, the world 200m champion and 100m silver medalist and the fastest woman over 60m this year, has been phenomenal since switching from the heptathlon to the sprints and many are projecting her to be the biggest threat to Shelly's legacy.
However, the Jamaican insists she is not worried about her opponents and even welcomes the challenge, which she anticipates will be her toughest of her three Olympic Games appearance.
"Each year, you have persons coming to the forefront, person who will rise and that's what happened to me (earlier in career). Daphne is a heptathlete, so she is very strong. But I don't subscribe to reading about my opponents, I don't follow them to be honest. I keep my head in my training and focus on that," she told The Gleaner at a luncheon at GraceKennedy yesterday.
Fraser-Pryce is expecting the added competition from Schippers as well as her club-mate and World Championships 200m silver medal winner Elaine Thompson among others will bring female sprinting into the limelight this year.
"I am really excited about where female sprinting is right now, the bar has been set, no longer people will sit around waiting on (Justin) Gatlin and (Usain) Bolt. They will look for us and I am looking forward to the challenge. Elaine has done times that not even I have done and it's exciting just to train with her and that has helped me to know I can do it.
"But 2016 is going to be an incredible year for female sprinting and I would love to be a part of that. It will not only be good for them but it's good for me to have that," she added.
" ... I believe this is a testing year, where I will have to more than rise to the occasion. I love those challenges, as I have been Olympic champion twice and three times world champion and that's a big feat," said Fraser-Pryce.
"So when 2016 comes and everybody ask if I am worried, I am not worried. Challenges make us and if I am to create history by just walking on the track without challenges it wouldn't be satisfying," she added.