BEIJING (Reuters) - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce underlined her status as Queen of the Sprints with an unprecedented third world championship 100 meters title at the Bird’s Nest stadium on Monday.
With her long, dyed green braids flowing behind her, the diminutive Jamaican was not quickest out of the blocks but soon got into her stride and powered down the track in 10.76 seconds to add to her titles in Berlin in 2009 and Moscow two years ago.
Back at the same arena where she won the first of her two Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Games, Fraser-Pryce locked up a fifth title in the last six major championships in the blue riband sprint.
”I will always work hard and do my best,“ she said. ”When I ran the heats, I remembered back at the 2008 Olympic Games when I was a 21-year-old.
“I expected nothing then. And I came out here again tonight and won a gold medal. I am really excited.”
Former heptathlete Dafne Schippers almost caught Fraser-Pryce with a brilliant finish but was more than satisfied with her second Dutch national record of the night in 10.81 for second place.
The first European to win a medal in the 100 meters at a world championships since France’s Christine Arron in 2005, Schippers was delighted to secure silver in her first season after giving up the multi-discipline event to focus on the sprints.
“It’s a national record, I’m second in the world, it’s crazy,” the 23-year-old, who won world heptathlon bronze in 2013, said.
“It’s good for the country and good for Europe. I was a little bit nervous in the semi-finals and after that I think, Okay, I‘m in the final, anything is possible. My start was good, I thought I was close enough to medal. Wow.”
Like Schippers, American Tori Bowie has not long turned her focus to the sprints after being predominantly a long jumper and she claimed bronze in 10.86 ahead of 2007 world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.91).
”I am delighted for the medal but I wished I showed a much better race,“ she said. ”I think I will be much more prepared for next year’s Olympics.
“Coming here, I did not know what to expect but I feel excited inside despite the fact it is not visible from the outside. This a major stepping stone for me.”
Trinidad and Tobago team mates Michelle-Lee Ahye (10.98) and Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.01) finished fifth and sixth with the third Jamaican Natasha Morrison and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (both 11.02) seventh and eighth respectively.
Fraser-Pryce’s time was the second fastest of the year after her own 10.74 in Paris last month but she was not satisfied.
“I get tired of 10.7s,” the 28-year-old said. “I just wanted to put a great race together. I want a 10.6 something. Hopefully in my next race I’ll get it together. I just work hard and focus on executing.”
Schippers will also compete in the 200 meters but Fraser-Pryce confirmed she would not defend her world title in the longer sprint, despite being named on the Jamaica team for the event.
“I am not considering the 200m, the plan has only been to only run in the 100m,” she said.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ken Ferris