Athletics

Flying high

Elaine Thompson says100m win big boost to confidence; pays tribute to teen Williams

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Sunday, June 23, 2019

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Friday's day two of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Athletics Championships saw one of the most exciting 100m women's finals in years.

One of the most highly anticipated events of the four-day meet delivered on the excitement promised, overshadowing in a big way, the men's 100m final which closed the show on Friday night.

Former World and Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had shown good form heading into the championships, while the teenage upstart Briana Williams threatened to spoil the party.

Elaine Thompson had slowly worked her way into the season, with a good win in the Rome Diamond League, then a world lead of 10.89s, a clear indication that she was on the right track.

In Friday night's sizzler, both Fraser-Pryce and Williams got out of the blocks ahead of the field, but the taller Thompson quickly caught up and went by Williams. It took more work to close the gap on Fraser-Pryce, but a determined finish by the now four-time national champion saw Thompson close the gap over the last ten metres, with a crucial lean at the tape ensuring that the win went her way.

Thompson was credited with 10.726s, while Fraser-Pryce was given 10.729s.

The 26-year-old hailed the field which she had to run against on the night.

“It was a good field, they all deserved to be in the finals and our “trials” is very early, but right now it's just back to work,” she said.

Fighting back tears, which eventually won and flowed freely, an emotional Thompson is using the win to judge where she is in her season.

“I'm emotional right now because the last two years I have been battling my Achilles injury. Last year was very up and down for me so to come out here and pull out a 10.73, I think it put me in a position to see where I am at for the rest of the season.”

With all that she has been through, Thompson has had a big hit to her confidence, so this win could not have come at a better time for her.

“Honestly, it boost my confidence sky high because I didn't have a lot of confidence and to retain this title, I think it boost me right now,” said the double Olympic champion.

She was also delighted for Williams, who finished third to book her spot on the World Championships team for the first time.

“I wish when I was 17 years old I could run 10.94, but I have to give her a lot of credit, she is determined, she's strong and I think she has a lot in store…so I will continue to motivate her and build her up for the upcoming (championships).”

With three women running below 11 seconds in the final, Thompson believes this may translate to great things at the World Championships in Doha.

“Once the flag is raised and our anthem is playing that is a warm feeling for us and to have a 17-year-old on our 4x100m team is awesome.”

Despite the recent physical challenges Thompson has now won the 100 for four consecutive years, something that is not lost on her.

“To be four time National champion is heart-warming. I have been fighting a battle with injury for the last two seasons and it has been an uphill battle. But champions never give up or complain, we just keep going.

“The main aim was to make the team to the World Championships and I am truly grateful and honoured that the time was so fast and everything is unfolding as it should.”

The MVP athlete does to have much time to bask in the applause, however, as she will quickly turn her attention to the 200m with the finals being run today.

“The focus is now on the 200m and this win has boosted my confidence going into that,” she said.


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