Fraser-Pryce centre-stage at Jamaica trials

·2-min read
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce starts as the favourite for the 100m at the Jamaican Olympic athletics trials starting on Thursday

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will look to build on her blistering start to the season as the first Jamaican Olympic athletics trials of the post-Usain Bolt era get under way in Kingston on Thursday.

Fraser-Pryce, the two-time Olympic 100m champion and a four-time world champion over the distance, heads a powerful field for the four-day meet taking place at the National Stadium in Independence Park.

The 34-year-old golden girl of Jamaican athletics is the fastest woman in the world over 100m this year, clocking 10.63sec -- the second fastest time in history -- in Kingston earlier this month.

Only the late Florence Griffith-Joyner has ever run faster than Fraser-Pryce, who changed coaches after a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics four years ago.

Fraser-Pryce faces strong opposition in the 100m however, with 2016 Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah leading the chasing pack.

Thompson-Herah clocked the third-fastest time in the world this season with a 10.78sec in Florida in May, and is chasing her fifth straight Jamaican national title, while the field also includes Natasha Morrison, owner of the fourth fastest time this year at 10.87sec.

The 100m could also represent a symbolic passing of the torch to a younger generation, with the inclusion of the 39-year-old Veronica Campbell Brown, the two-time Olympic 200m champion, alongside rising teenage star Briana Williams.

Williams, 19, who won the world junior championship 100m and 200m in 2018, ran a personal best of 10.97sec earlier this month.

But while the women's 100m features multiple potential contenders for Olympic medals, it is a different story in the men's event, long dominated by Bolt, who completed three consecutive 100m-200m Olympic doubles in Rio in 2016.

No Jamaican man has managed to duck under 10 seconds for the 100m this season, with the fastest time coming from Nigel Ellis, 10.04sec, in April. Yohan Blake has only clocked 10.05 this year.

In the men's 110m hurdles, however, reigning Olympic champion Omar McLeod is coming into form at the right time, with a world-leading 13.01sec at the Rome Diamond League earlier this month.

McLeod is aiming to bounce back after a tumultuous 2019 which saw him disqualified from the World Championships. He will face stiff competition from 20-year-old Rasheed Broadbell, who has a personal best 13.10sec, the third fastest time this year.

This year's championships meanwhile are taking place without fans under strict Covid-19 protocols enforced for the meeting.


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