Fraser-Pryce nearing top form with sub-11 win

LONDON, CMC – Former World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dipped below the 11-second barrier for the first time since her return to the track last month, as she produced a strong late surge to win the 100 metres in the Diamond League here yesterday.

The 31-year-old Jamaican, who give birth to her first child nearly a year ago, clocked 10.98 to beat American Dezerea Bryant into second in 11.04, while Jamaican Jonielle Smith was timed at a personal best 11.07 in finishing third.

Fraser-Pryce, who holds the meet record at 10.77 and has gone as fast as 10.70 in a stellar career, said the successful comeback had given her hope for next season, which features the World Championships in Qatar.

“I cannot complain because I haven’t raced for ages and I’m happy that the run today was under 11 seconds,” said Fraser-Pryce, who has won two Olympic 100 metres titles and three World Championships titles.

“It’s hard work racing after having a child but it’s not as though it’s anything I’m not used to. I’m used to sacrificing and making sure that my path is right.

“Being a mother is my first priority and to come back and be flexible with my training is wonderful and I’m so excited about next year now.”

Fraser-Pryce was away slowly in lane six as Bryant, alongside her in lane five, and France’s Orlann Ombissa-Dzangue, in lane one, showed early.

However, Fraser-Pryce caught the leaders at the half-way mark and powered to the finish under pressure from Bryant, with Smith leaning into grab third.

A 22-year-old from Auburn State, Smith said there were improvements still to be made.

“I still need to get my start right and I know if I get that I’ll be a sub-11 second sprinter so I’m excited, a bit iffy but I’m really happy,” she said afterwards.

“Practice will make perfect because I’ve been back and forth travelling. I’ve had such a long season since college and I wanted to come here and get the experience and completing my first race here is a huge accolade.”

There was no such luck for former World champion, Yohan Blake, as the Jamaican could only finish fourth in a hotly-contested men’s 100 metres, albeit in a season-best 9.95 seconds.

He looked to be in contention over the first 50 metres until American Ronnie Baker came through on the outside to take the line first in 9.90.

Zharnel Hughes, representing Great Britain after switching allegiance from Anguilla three years ago, finished third in 9.93 while South African Akani Simbine clinched third in 9.94.

“I am really happy with how I ran today. I ran against a world-class field and I have never ran against these guys before, so it was really good to see I was able to hold my own and to give those guys good competition towards the finish line,” said the 23-year-old Hughes.

In the men’s 400m, former Olympic champion Grenadian Kirani James was third in 44.50 as Haroun Abdalleleh of Qatar took victory in 44.07, while Jamaican Janieve Russell just missed out in the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.96 to American Shamier Little (53.95).

“It was a really good race because I lost that way in Lausanne and I wanted to get my dip right and I’m really pleased with the time,” said the 24-year-old Russell, who won Commonwealth Games gold earlier this year.

“I didn’t expect to be as consistent as I have been which is very pleasing but this is close to perfect for me.”

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