Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Not a big deal' - Francis says Fraser-Pryce-Thompson rivalry healthy for camp

Published:Monday | August 8, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Elaine Thompson runs during a training session for MVP athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Prycel runs during a training session of MVP athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

One is the reigning two-time Olympic champion, while the other is her biggest threat for a historic three-peat.

They are both trained by the same man, Stephen Francis.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is one stride away from creating Olympic sprinting history, but the person who has most threatened to prevent her from achieving this could hardly be any closer.

Elaine Thompson has enjoyed an amazing two seasons, after shooting on to the scene last year. She ended 2015 with a silver medal in the 200m from the World Championships in Beijing and has kicked on, showing great improvement, particularly in the shorter sprint.

Thompson improved her personal best to 10.70 seconds this season. No Jamaican woman has ever gone faster. In fact, that national record is shared by none other than Fraser-Pryce herself, who has not gone that fast since 2012, weeks before her London Games gold.

 

TROUBLESOME INJURY

 

Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce has been dealing with a troublesome toe injury all season, the effects showing with the sprinter only going below 11 seconds once in eight starts.

Francis, who believes both sprinters are in a good position to do well here, says the rivalry between the two is healthy.

"It (rivalry) doesn't affect me. Our camp is one where we train people to beat the ones that are already established because I believe that is one way to keep the ones that are already established on their toes. If they can't manage that kind of pressure, they will drop by the wayside, but that is the way I believe things are to be done," Francis said.

"But it's not a big deal; we always have youngsters who come up to challenge those who are already established and I hope that will always be the case. You try your best not to pick favourites and ensure that everyone understands it's a performance thing," he added, before assessing his athletes' chances.

"As long as the athletes listen and they learn and try their best to do what they are told, I am quite happy with them, whether they run 10.7 or 11.7. Elaine is one of those persons who has done most things right in terms of what I expect from her, so, of course, I would be pleased in what I have seen from her and I hope she will continue to get better," Francis said of his new charge.

"Being the underdog this time around, I think it will allow her to focus more on her technique and form, and when she does that, she is usually very hard to beat," Francis said of Fraser-Pryce. "She will be as good as she has ever been."

Fraser-Pryce is looking to become the first woman to win three Olympic 100m titles.