Caribbean women sprinters dominate in Lausanne

Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino

While the spotlight was on Jamaica’s top trio of female sprinters in Lausanne last Thursday for the Athletissima Wanda Diamond League meet, the day also belonged to not just the Jamaicans but to at least two other Caribbean female athletes as well, who brought their A-game.

With all eyes on the 100-m, Jamaican Olympians Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson did not disappoint, finishing 1-2-3 again as they did at the Summer Games in Tokyo and in Eugene last weekend.

However, this time, places were reversed as the 34-year-old Fraser, known as the pocket rocket, bested her compatriot Thompson-Herah to claim the number one spot in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise in a time of 10.60 (1.7m/s) clocking.

On a night when the wind whipped off Lake Geneva to trouble many a newly crowned Olympic champion, Fraser-Pryce got off to her customary bullet start, then ran like the wind to render Thompson-Herah’s charge from halfway worthy of only the runner-up spot with 10.64.

Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas

She now holds the third spot on the world all-time list – behind the 10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner recorded at the 1988 US Olympic trials in Indianapolis and the scorching 10.54 that Thompson-Herah ran at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene on Saturday, August 14th.

It was a stunning turnaround, with the spotlight on Thompson-Herah and the prospect of her threatening Griffith-Joyner’s 33-year-old global mark on the back of her Eugene performance and her 10.61 Olympic record win in Tokyo.

Having finished a distant second in both races, Fraser-Pryce – the four-time world and two-time Olympic 100m champion – now finds herself firmly in the frame as the Jamaican rivals look to update the record books.

“Believe it or not, I still have not run my best race,” the veteran sprint queen maintained afterwards. “I know there is more to give because I still need to work further on improving my technique. There will be more from me this season, and certainly my goal is to break into the 10.5 range.”

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defeats Elaine Thompson-Herah at Lausanne

It was Fraser-Pryce’s 21st sub-10.8 clocking and her first win against her Jamaican teammate since the Jamaican Olympic trials in late June, when she emerged victorious from both the 100m and 200m.

Thompson-Herah, who finished second at 10.64, confessed: “My body is feeling tired after a long season and especially after having done four personal best times in a month. That’s amazing, for sure. I have no plans to break the world record and I never thought of getting so close. I’m simply going to continue working hard, finish the season strong and come back even stronger next season.”

As in Tokyo, and Eugene, Jackson completed a Jamaican 1-2-3, taking the third spot in a time of 10.92. 

Also dominating were women from the DR and Barbados. In the women’s 400-m, The Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino took the win in a time of 50.40 while Barbados’ Sada Williams was second in a time of 50.77.

Grenada’s Anderson Peters

In the women’s Triple Jump, Shanieka Ricketts was second with a mark of 15.02.

But it was not just the women who ended with a place in the top 3. In the men’s 200-m, Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas finished third in 20.11 and Grenada’s Anderson Peters also finished third in the men’s javelin throw with a mark of 84.32.