Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce collecting her fourth world 100m title in Doha (© Getty Images)
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica earned her fourth women’s world 100m title here tonight, ten years after her first, in 10.71, having got off to the kind of start that has earned her the nickname of Pocket Rocket down the years.
The 32-year-old double Olympic champion was ahead after three strides in a final that had been preceded by the same kind of sound-and-light show that had ushered in the men’s final on the previous evening.
And she never lost that position as she crossed in the fastest time run this year, just 0.01 off her seven-year-old personal best, equalling the mark she ran to win this title at Moscow in 2013.
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, starting in the lane next to Fraser-Pryce, never stopped trying to get on terms and was rewarded with silver as she broke her own national record with a time of 10.83.
Bronze went to the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, the 2017 silver medallist, who clocked 10.90, finishing one place ahead of Jamaica’s Rio 2016 100 and 200m champion Elaine Thompson, who recorded 10.93.
For double world 200m champion Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands the evening ended in bitter disappointment as an adductor problem she felt after qualifying in the earlier semi-finals prevented her taking part.
Fraser-Pryce, her bright yellow wig now swapped for one of many colours, had celebrated what was her 12th world title in all by parading her son Zyon, to whom she gave birth in August 2017.
“Standing here having done it again at 32, and holding my baby, is a dream come true,” Fraser-Pryce said. “I had no sleep last night. Last time I was at a major championship was 2016 and I just could not sleep with nerves. But with mental toughness you will get what you want.
“I can’t believe it. I worked so hard to be back. The field was so strong I had to come good here and I’m so excited to come out with victory.
“I just wanted to nail my start, which I did, and in the end I was just making sure to get to the line, and not leaving anything to chance.
“Zyon and my husband have been my strength. When everybody else doubted me, they never did. It’s down to them that I am here again.”
Asher-Smith commented: “A personal best and a national record – that’s more than you could ever ask for in a World Championship final. I’d have loved to win today, but Shelly-Ann ran a superb race, that’s why she’s the champion she is.
“Everybody wants to be a world champion, of course, and I have a chance in the 200 metres. Now I’m going to go and get some rest and prepare for that.”
Fraser-Pryce has returned to the zenith of world sprinting this year, having started the year marginally behind Thompson at the top of the world listings after both recorded 10.73 at the Kingston meeting on 21 June.
And with this performance she reversed the result of the IAAF Diamond League final earlier this month when she had taken second place behind the Briton.
The newly established world 100m champion will not be contesting the women’s 200m that gets underway tomorrow, and Asher-Smith – European 100 and 200m champion at the age of 23 – will go into an event that includes Ta Lou, the 2017 silver medallist, and Thompson with confidence high.
On day three of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, Fraser-Pryce had registered her intentions by being the fastest qualifier to the final, clocking 10.81 in winning the third and final semi-final.
Both Ta Lou and Asher-Smith had won their semi-finals in 10.87, which was a season’s best time for the Briton.
Asher-Smith’s semi-final saw the prospects of English Gardner come to a sudden halt as she stuttered, agonised, to a halt halfway down the straight after what looked like a hamstring injury.
The American fell face down in lane five, pounding the track with her fists in frustration before being ferried away, head bowed, in a wheelchair after her US colleague Morolake Akinosun and Asher-Smith had tracked back to offer their sympathy.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF