Feature16 Aug 2013

Fraser-Pryce does the double after hearing Felix fall away


Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the womens 200m Final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)


Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who added the 200m title here to the 100m she regained earlier in the week, did not see four-times winner Allyson Felix drop out of contention after 40 metres of the final, but the Jamaican definitely did hear her.

“I heard someone scream, but I wasn’t sure who it was,” said Fraser-Pryce, who was in lane four for the 200m final, one ahead of the American who fell to the track with what looked like a hamstring injury to her right leg.

“When I got into the straight I was expecting to see her come up, but I didn’t see her, so I thought it must be her.

“It was very unfortunate that that happened. We can never predict injuries, we just have to deal with them when they come along. I hope to God that Allyson comes back really quickly. Whenever she is in a 200m you know she is someone you have to look for when you are competing.”

Fraser-Pryce was delighted to have gone one better over the longer sprint than she achieved at the London 2012 Olympic Games, when she finished behind Felix.

However, she admitted that it had taken some doing to turn herself into an athlete equally capable of running both events.

‘A couple of years ago I hated the 200m’

Asked if she now considered herself to be a 100-200m runner, she hesitated. “I have not totally embraced that.”

“A couple of years ago I hated the 200m but I decided that I wanted to do it to help my 100, and I put the same amount of energy and effort into it.

“It was very hard for me here to focus on the 200 after winning the 100, but I was very grateful that we had two days between the events. The day after the 100m final I went to do some jogging and make sure I had no pains or niggles, and that was very helpful to me.

“I went back to my hotel and told myself that the 100 had gone now and I had to get myself just as ready for the 200. I told myself that the job was not over, and I got into the same competition mode.

 It feels good that I have now accomplished the goal I set myself. I learned a lot from my experience at London last year and I brought that into the competition here.”

Asked how she felt about becoming only the third female sprinter to do the 100m and 200m double at the World Championships, she responded: “I am not a great one for statistics. I didn’t know that – so thanks for the information!”

On the subject of running world record times, Fraser-Pryce pointed out that she was still some distance away from 10.6  in the 100, never mind Florence Griffith Joyner’s 10.49 that was run back in 1988.

“I am still waiting for 10.6!” she said. “And I didn’t manage to get under 22 seconds here, but hopefully I will be able to on another occasion.

“I am just excited that I have won the title here. As an athlete I don’t think about times, I just think about trying to execute races as I want to.”

Making history for African women’s sprinting

Ivory Coast’s silver medallist Murielle Ahoure and Nigeria’s bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria – who were separated by just 0.001 on the line – spoke of their pride at being the first African female sprinters to earn medals at the World Championships.

“I feel very blessed right now,” said Ahoure, who also won the silver behind Fraser-Pryce in the 100m. “I am so proud to be representing Africa here.

Okagbare added: “It’s an honour this year to be representing Africa, and of course my country.”

Okagbare – sixth in the 100 and the silver medallist in the long jump in Moscow - added that she had become aware of the pressure of expectation on her after winning a Long Jump bronze at the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing. “I was only 19 then and very naïve,” she said. “Once I started sprinting I started to feel what people were expecting of me. They wanted so much! But this year I decided not to take notice of what people were writing or saying because I needed to concentrate on my performance. I have competed in three events here and, you know what? I think I did pretty well.”

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF

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