Wed | Nov 22, 2017

London 2017 | Elaine's time to shine

Published:Sunday | August 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Elaine Thompson winning her 100 metres heat in the rain at the IAAF World Championships in London yesterday.

LONDON, England:

Jamaica's women have gobbled up half of the medals on offer in the 100 and 200 metres at the last seven international championships - that's every major event from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to last year's instalment in Rio de Janeiro.

The country also boasts the current sprinting titan, Elaine Thompson, with the Olympic double champion at the top of her game having one of the most dominant streaks in female sprinting.

Thompson has won all but one of her last 21 races over 100m, with her only loss coming in the heats at the London Diamond League a few weeks ago.

She represents the latest flag-bearer in a long time of dominant Jamaican women over that period, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson all sprinting their way onto the podium at the World Championships and Olympic levels in the eight-year stretch.

The 25-year-old made light work of qualifying for today's semi-final at 7:10 p.m. (1:10 p.m. Jamaica time) It will take a small miracle to keep her out of the 9:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m.) final, but while Thompson has well and truly started her journey as Jamaica's next sprinting icon, she will have a few less-decorated compatriots

Thompson eased her way to a 11.05 win in her heat; Jura Levy (11.09) and Natasha Morrison (11.21) ran third in their respective first-round assignments, while Simone Facey came out relieved after a nervous wait, qualifying as a 'fastest' loser after her fourth-place finish in her heat in 11.29.

For Levy and Morrison, playing their role in extending Jamaica's golden spell in the female sprints is not just an ambition, but a duty, which they hope will be fulfilled sooner rather than later.

 

POINT TO PROVE

 

"Yes, there is a point to prove As long as I stay injury-free, train hard and do what I am supposed to do, I think I can be one of those athletes to continue Jamaica's success," said Morrison, who was a finalist at the Beijing 2015 World Championships. "I think Jamaica has the best sprinters.

Morrison, 24, knows she has some way to go before she can carve her name beside the island's best, but is focusing on the first step and the corrections needed to make it to the final.

"My start, I think that I am not executing my race how I should, but I just have to work on it. I am happy to advance because the conditions were not what I was looking forward to," said Morrison, who is nearing her best after an injury-ravaged year in 2016.

Twenty-six year-old Levy is also cognisant of the expectations weighed on any sprinter wearing Jamaican colours.

"I think it's always about our legacy when you are performing for your country. Whenever you put the gear on, it's a different feeling and I think we are all obligated," Levy said.

The women's 100m final will highlight today's third day of competition as Jamaica revs up its medal charge in the English capital.

Quarter-milers Nathon Allen, who scared fans when he was seen being taken to the medical area after his 44.91 win in the heat yesterday, and Demish Gaye, who was second in his race with 44.98, will hunt lanes in the 400m final in today's semis, which start at 7:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m.). Allen was later said to have been slightly dehydrated following the race, but was shortly afterwards cleared of any concerns.