Fraser-Pryce in confident mood ahead of 100m showdown
The double Olympic champion pulled out of last year’s meeting at the Shanghai Stadium with an injury that persisted throughout the outdoor campaign, frustrating the high-achieving Jamaican who won triple gold at the Moscow World Championships and the 60m title at the 2014 World Indoors, not to mention Diamond Race trophies for both women’s sprint events in 2013.
But with a ‘best ever’ early-season 200m behind her, the 28-year-old is confident she can once again set the world alight as she builds towards a single-focused defence of her world 100m title in Beijng this August.
“Last year was disappointing because of my injury, but I felt it was important to stay active because I knew this was a World Championships year,” she said yesterday.
“For me, this is my first 100m of the year and I think I’ll do pretty well. The field is very good, as always. But it’s good to have a great field to push you.
“I ran my first 200m in 22.37 last week and I’ve never done that before so I’m looking forward to this 100m. The 200m felt very good, unlike this time last year, so I’m sure it will be good.”
Fraser-Pryce could hardly have given herself a harder test for her first dash of the year for the Shanghai field contains no fewer than six women who have been under 11 seconds, including her compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown, a former world and Olympic champion herself, Nigeria’s world 200m and long jump medallist, Blessing Okagbare, and the surprise package of 2014, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, who’s already run sub-11 twice this year.
Then there’s the ever-present US challenge, headed here by Tori Bowie, the quickest in the world last year with 10.80 from Moncao, and fellow American Muna Lee, not to mention China’s Asian Games champion Wei Yongli.
“This field compares to the field in any World Championships,” said Fraser-Pryce. “But that’s normal for us. We can never hide. I just want to execute my first 100m very well.
“It’s good to test where I am in my first 100m in a race like this. If any of us women are under a rock, someone else will turn up.
“It’s not just Veronica, everyone in this race is very good. But I like to race the others because it gives me confidence going into a World Championships. When you line up you know what everyone’s ready to give.
“But if I win it will not be very significant for what will happen in August because the season is still young and people are at different stages in their training.
“It’s just about enjoying the process at this stage and taking one day at a time. You have to stay focused till you get to a championships where anything can happen.”