Thomas-Dodd, Fraser-Pryce shine at PanAm Games
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Danniel Thomas-Dodd left their mark on the 2019 Pan American Games by shattering records, which stood in their respective disciplines long before they were even born.
Fraser-Pryce lowered the 40-year-old 200m record of 22.45 seconds, set by USA’s Evelyn Ashford, when she cruised to a composed 22.43 seconds to take gold in the event. She finished ahead of Brazil’s Vitória Cristina Rosa, who took silver in a personal best of 22.62, and the Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither, who got the bronze medal in 22.76 seconds.
“It was an okay race,” said Fraser-Pryce after her win. “I have to give God thanks because it was cold, but I was able to finish healthy. My coach (Stephen Francis) wanted me to run the first 100m hard, and I think I ran it really hard. The last 20 could’ve been fixed, but it’s still loading season. I’m still being prepared for the World Championships, so I’m hoping that everything will work itself out eventually.”
Fraser-Pryce, who said she wanted to get more 200m races under her belt ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar next month, said she’ll be heading to Birmingham next for that leg of the Diamond League for more practice over the distance.
For Thomas-Dodd, her 19.55m thrown which broke the 36-year-old Pan Am Games women’s shot put record set by Cuba’s María Elena Sarría in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1983 and also bettered her own national record of 19.48m set earlier this year, consistency was key to her success.
“All season, we’ve been working on staying consistent,” she said. “For me, consistency, is key. I always talk about consistency and in order for you to be consistent with the distances, you have to be consistent with the technique because sometimes you can hit, sometimes you can miss. My coach (Nathan Fanger) and I have been working on it all season, and it has definitely paid off.”
Thomas-Dodd landed the mark on her final attempt but was already in the gold-medal position with her previous best on the day at 19.16m. At that point, the pressure was off and history took care of itself.
“I think on that last throw, it was more of a sigh of ‘I’ve gotten the gold’, so I was able to relax a little bit more and then the distance just came because I was a little bit more relaxed,” she explained.
The silver medal in the event went to Canada’s Brittany Crew, with a personal best of 19.07m, and USA’s Jessica Ramsey’s season’s best of 19.01m gave her the bronze medal.
There were two more medals for Jamaica on the day with Aisha Praught-Leer and Shanieka Ricketts both mining silver for the black, green, and gold.
Praught-Leer had a hard-fought race in the women’s 1500m final, but try as she may, she could not hold off six-time NCAA Division I All-American champion Dominique Hiltz. The American finished in 4:07.14 minutes for gold, ahead of Praught-Leer, who clocked 4:08.26, ahead of American Alexa Ephraimson, third in 4:08.63 minutes.
Shanieka Ricketts’ season keeps going from strength to strength as she eclipsed her personal best of 14.76m set in the women’s triple jump in February, with a distance of 14.77m for the silver medal. It took a remarkable jump of 15.11m by Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas to beat her. Rojas’ jump was the first time a woman cleared 15m in the Pan Am Games, and therefore a Championship record. Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams also took part in the event, but her best jump of 14.15m was only good enough for fourth.
Youth standout Jauavney James had a difficult time in the men’s 800m semi-final, finishing fifth in a time of 1:50.38 minutes, missing today’s final.
André Ewers (20.91 seconds) finished eighth in the men’s 200m final. Ecuador’s Alex Leonardo Quiñónez was the winner, taking gold in 20.27 seconds, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards, in 20.38 seconds, and third-place Yancarlos Martinez of the Dominican Republic, in 20.44 seconds.
There was disappointment for Jamaica in both 4x100m relays as the women’s team of Schilloni Calvert-Powell, Natasha Morrison, Ronda Whyte, and Shashalee Forbes (in that order) finished fifth in 43.74 seconds. Brazil won the race in a season’s best 43.04 seconds, ahead of Canada, with a season’s best of 43.37, and the USA, third, in 43.39 seconds.
Not to be outdone, Brazil’s men took their equivalent in 38.27 seconds, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, in a season’s best 38.46, and the USA, third in 38.79. Jamaica’s team of Ewers, Rasheed Dwyer, Julian Forte, and Oshane Bailey (in that order) was fifth in 39.01 seconds.
Jamaica’s final involvement in track and field takes place at 4:40 p.m. today with the women’s 4x400m relay final. The men take part in their equivalent at 6:54 p.m.
The country’s medal count stands at 18, with six gold, six silver, and six bronze.