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Thompson in line to extend Ja's run in 200m

Published:Thursday | August 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Jamaica’s 200m ace Elaine Thompson on the warm-up track in Beijing.

If Elaine Thompson wins the 200 metres at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, she will extend a long history of Jamaican success. The women's 200m has given Jamaica more medals than any other individual discipline. A win for the University of Technology sprinter would match gold-medal runs by Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), and Thompson's training partner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Ottey won twice, in 1993 and 1995, with VCB and Fraser-Pryce winning the last two titles in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Gold for Thompson, Sherone Simpson, or VCB would, therefore, give Jamaica three wins in a row. That's a feat no other country has ever accomplished. East Germans won the first two titles thanks to Marita Koch, who beat Ottey in 1983 and Silke Gladisch in 1987.

Together, with Bev McDonald and Merlene Fraser, who were second and third in 1999, Ottey, VCB, and Fraser Pryce have won 12 medals for Jamaica in the curved sprint.




Ottey has a brilliant record in the event. In addition to her two gold medals, she has a silver and three bronze medals. If justice is ever done, she might get Koch's 1983 gold. The East German, like all her compatriots from the 1970s and '80s, were found to be beneficiaries of a state-organised steroid-boosting programme.

Fraser-Pryce is bypassing the 200m at the 2015 World Championships; however, her 2013 win earned her a couple of distinctions. She is the first locally training athlete to win the World 200m. Second, she is the first winner not to have attended Vere Technical High School. Thompson could be second on both counts.

- Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980.