Shelly looks to the future
Even before a leg discomfort forced her out of the 100 metres at last week’s Lausanne Diamond League meet, five-time World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was looking into the future. In the short term, the little speed merchant is eagerly waiting...
Even before a leg discomfort forced her out of the 100 metres at last week’s Lausanne Diamond League meet, five-time World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was looking into the future. In the short term, the little speed merchant is eagerly waiting for the 2023 season. She’s also looking over the horizon, hoping the next crop of female sprinters from Jamaica are inspired by the works of Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shericka Jackson, and her.
This trio dominated the 100 metres in 2021 and 2022, with Thompson Herah, Fraser Pryce, and Jackson going one-two-three in last year’s Olympics, with the order changing to Fraser Pryce, Jackson, and Thompson Herah at last month’s World Athletics Championships. A 100m title defence in Budapest, Hungary, hosts of the 2023 World Championships would pull Fraser-Pryce even with pole vault king Sergei Bubka, who soared to victory in 1983, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997.
Speaking in Lausanne last week, the 35 year-old Jamaican remarked: “It definitely feels good to repeat on a world title, and I’m still trying to enjoy the moment and to just have a great season, so I haven’t really thought about a record, about who has six, but for me, 2023 is definitely something that I’m looking forward to. So when this season is finished, then, I guess, I go back and then I continue to work, and I look forward to that accomplishment.”
Fraser-Pryce, winner of the Olympic Games 100m in 2008 and 2012, took her first World 100m title in 2009 and later added gold medals in 2013, as part of a sprint double, 2015, 2019, and recently, in 2022. Of note, she isn’t the only one who could equalise with Bubka. Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek took his fifth consecutive World title this year. At 33, Fajdek could be fit and ready to win in Budapest.
Asked for her view on the likes of Tina and Tia Clayton, Kerrica Hill and Brianna Lyston, Fraser Pryce reflected on stars like Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell-Brown before looking ahead.
“I think for us as Jamaicans being able to represent our country in this way is something that’s mind blowing because we grew up seeing Merlene Ottey, Veronica, and so many others coming to the forefront, and, you know, doing their thing but weren’t as dominant as we are now,” she assessed.
She expressed the hope that World Under-20 champions Tina Clayton, Hill, and Lyston and the others would keep Jamaica’s flag flying high. “I think, having the young crop of athletes like the Clayton twins and Kerrica Hill and Lyston coming into the forefront, I’m hoping that we give them motivation to know that if we were able to do it and to stand at this position, they are also able to follow that path.”