Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Bailey backs Thompson for greatness

Published:Friday | January 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Elaine Thompson celebrates winning the women's 100m final.
Aleen Bailey
1
2

Athens Olympics sprint relay gold medallist Aileen Bailey has described 2016 RJR Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year nominee Elaine Thompson as an amazing young lady.

Bailey believes that Thompson will do well in the future and that she could be the spearhead of Jamaican sprinting when six-time Olympic winner Usain Bolt retires.

An Olympic 100 and 200 metres finalist herself in 2004, Bailey has high praise for Thompson and her achievements in 2016. During an interview earlier this week, Bailey said: "She's been doing well and representing us well and I just wish the best for her."

Thompson sprinted to an undefeated season in the 100m, equalling Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce's national record of 10.70 seconds in the process and taking gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Though she lost a couple of races over 200 metres, she led the world with her Olympic gold medal-winning time of 21.78 seconds. Thompson's super Olympic campaign has earned her a nomination for the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year award.

She has already been voted the 2016 International Female Athlete of the Year by readers of the British journal, ATHLETICS WEEKLY.

"Based on her build, she reminds me of Usain," Bailey continued to assess, "how they cover ground and everything like that". The 2004 and 2008 Olympian is certain that good things lie ahead for the 24-year-old Thompson.

"She's being guided by Mr Francis, so she'll definitely do well," Bailey said in a reference to MVP coach Stephen Francis.

"I feel that this year, all our national records in the sprints are going to be gone," she predicted, "because she's an amazing young lady." Jamaica's national 200-metre record stands at 21.64 seconds. That's just 0.02 quicker than Thompson's personal best of 21.66 seconds.

The existing mark was set by Merlene Ottey in 1991.

In addition to that, Bailey thinks Thompson could be Jamaica's big star of the post-Bolt era. "It could be," she envisaged, "Bolt is going out, so she could be the replacement that we need."

Thompson was among the nominees for the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year award won by Fraser-Pryce. Swimmer Alia Atkinson and 400 metres runner Shericka Jackson, cricketer Stafanie Taylor and Fraser-Pryce complete the list of nominees for the award this time around.