'A genius'

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'A genius'

Thompson-Herah hails Coach Stephen Francis after overcoming Achilles injury

Monday, September 28, 2020

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Following another stunning victory at the Doha Diamond League last Friday, where she experienced no ill-effects of the niggling Achilles injury which dogged her over the past few years, Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah paid tribute to her coach, Stephen Francis, referring to him as a genius.

Thompson-Herah sped to another splendid 10.87-second clocking in capturing the Doha Diamond League, her second Diamond League win following her world-leading 10.85 seconds achieved in Rome the previous week.

Quizzed by the Jamaica Observer as to the state of her well-documented Achilles injury, whether it was fully recovered or she was now at a point of being better able to manager it, she said: “Nothing much has changed with my training. My coach is a genius, though, so I just do what he tells me to do.”

She did not elaborate on specifics regarding Francis's involvement with her getting over the injury.

Thompson-Herah, who became the first woman in 28 years to win the sprint double at the Rio Olympics in 2016, has looked awesome in her two recent victories, as she left the field for dead and winning by over two metres on both occasions.

Her time of 10.87 was miles ahead of second-placed Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast with 11.21 seconds. Ta Lou, who was behind Thompson-Herah at the Rio Olympics, beat her at the 2019 World Championships when she was being bothered by the Achilles injury.

This win proved that Thompson-Herah might just be back to her best as she now owns four of the top six times in the world this truncated season, with compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce having the second and third best times.

But with the novel coronavirus pandemic crippling sports and forcing fans away from the venues, Thompson-Herah said that has no direct bearings on her.

“As a sprinter, you have to learn to block everything else out anyway, so I've got used to racing in a stadium without any fans,” she told the Observer.

Based on current form, the 28-year-old Jamaican, who shares the national 100m record of 10.70 seconds with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, would certainly wish the Olympic Games were held this year, but nonetheless, she has promised to keep going for the delayed 2021 version in Japan where she will defend her 100m and 200m titles.

The Manchester-born native said preparation for the Olympics is next on her agenda as she ended the season injury free.

— Howard Walker


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