Girls run the world: predictions
With track and field action now under way at the Tokyo Olympics, several local pundits are predicting a big medal haul for Jamaica’s athletes, with some hoping for an overall double-digit booty to rival the 11 garnered in Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016.
Following Diamond League and National Championships performances by the country’s three top female sprinters, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson, experts are salivating at the prospect of a sweep of all medals by the Jamaicans in the 100m and 200m.
The Gleaner takes a look at the medal chances of the Jamaican women.
The Beijing Olympics was historic as Fraser-Pryce captured gold while Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart shared the silver medal for a sweep by the Jamaicans.
Fraser-Pryce (10.63s), Thompson-Herah (10.71) and Jackson (10.77s) are the three quickest athletes set to line up for the event in Tokyo.
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ will be hoping for her third Olympic 100m title to join the legendary Usain Bolt. But Thompson-Herah, the defending champion, will be hoping to claim her second title, while Jackson will be eyeing an upset.
While all three Jamaicans staking strong claims, it will not be an easy task. Great Britain’s Dina Asher Smith (SB 10.91s) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (SB 10.86s) will be coming to crash the party despite running slower than the Jamaicans coming into the Games.
Fraser-Pryce, who was beaten by Thompson-Herah in her last Diamond League meet, looks set to return to winning ways, while Asher Smith, the World Championships silver medallist, is extremely dangerous and could pull off a major upset.
1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
2. Elaine Thompson-Herah
3. Dina Asher Smith
Undoubtedly, this is the most competitive event among the women, as any of six athletes have a real chance of winning here.
Five athletes, led by the United States’ Gabrielle Thomas, with a world-leading 21.61s, have gone sub 22 seconds. Thomas is followed by Fraser-Pryce (21.79s) and Jackson (21.82s), with the American duo of Jenna Prandini (21.89s) and Anavis Battle (21.95s) also in that zone.
Defending champion Thompson-Herah (22.02s), the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller Uibo (22.03s) and World champion Asher Smith (22.06s) are all gold medal contenders and could dominate here. Despite not looking her best in two Diamond League meets, the Bahamian, who is forgoing the one-lap event, should not be taken lightly .
Thomas, who slowed down some 10 metres before the finish line to look at the clock in winning at the US Trials, should have the edge. Expect a blanket finish also for the lesser medals among Asher Smith, Miller Uibo, and Jackson.
1. Gabrielle Thomas
2. Dina Asher Smith
3. Shericka Jackson and Miller Uibo in a tie
Miller Uibo was seen as a cinch here to win the gold, but with her expected absence to concentrate on the 200m, the race is now wide open.
Jamaica’s Stephenie-Ann McPherson, many-time finalist at the World Championships and who won bronze in Moscow in 2013, is the leader here with 49.61 seconds. However, she will have to deal with the US duo of Quanera Hayes (49.78) and the veteran Allyson Felix (50.02).
Jamaica’s Candice McLeod (SB 49.91s) has an outside chance of medalling, but the occasion could be too big for her. The verdict should be gold for Hayes.
1. Quanera Hayes
2. Stephenie-Ann McPherson
3. Allyson Felix
There’s no stopping the Rio Olympic silver medallist and World champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela.
The only athlete in the 15m zone, Rojas (SB 15.43m) will have the world record of 15.50m on her mind, set by the Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts, the World Championships silver medallist, should land silver and she will be aiming to surpass 15m for the first time to improve on her best of 14.98m.
Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams (SB 14.69m) should be in the finals.
1. Yulimar Rojas
2. Shanieka Ricketts
3. Keturah Orji
Janieve Russell and Ronda Whyte (400m hurdles), Natoya Goule (800m), and Danniel Thomas Dodd (shot put) should be among the finalists.
OVERALL MEDAL COUNT
EIGHT: FEMALES 7
GOLD 3, SILVER 4, BRONZE 1