Shelly-Ann just short of Jones’ WC record
Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser of Jamaica missed American Marion
Jones’ ten-year-old World Championship record by three hundredth of a
second as she clocked an impressive 10.73 seconds to win the women’s
100m gold medal at the 12th IAAF World Championships continued at the
Olympic stadion here last night.
Fraser’s timing of 10.73 is the world’s leading women’s 100m timing
this year and it makes her the third fastest woman ever on earth behind
former Olympic champions Florence Griffinth-Joyner (10.49) and Marion
The 23-year-old lass from Kingston improved on her personal best
timing of 10.78 she had until yesterday for her gold medal winning dash
at the last Olympic Games in Beijing last year. Fraser held off a late
charge from compatriot, Kerron Stewart, to clinch the gold medal by just
0.02 with America’s Carmelita Jeter securing a second successive World
bronze in 10.90. Jeter, the last Osaka 2007 World Championship bronze
medalist prevented a clean Jamaican whitewash to secure the third place
as defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica wound up fourth
with a season’s best 10.95. The Helsinki 2005 champion, Lauryn Williams
of the USA, equaled her season’s best timing of 11.01 to finish fifth.
Following team mate Usain Bolt’s world record 10.58 second dash in
the men’s 100m the previous night, it was once again Jamaican jubilation
as Fraser emerged the fastest woman at the 12th IAAF World Championship,
coming so much near to Marion Jones’ meet record.
Prior to last night’s semi finals, it seemed as if Stewart, the world
leader with 10.75 coming into the championships, and Jeter, the American
powerhouse, were the fancied gold medal contenders.
But Jamaican champion Fraser sounded a clear warning to the American
camp by winning the first semi-final in 10.79 - the fastest ever legal
women’s 100m semi-final time at a global championship.
It was Fraser’s usual blistering start that largely contributed for
her golden run both in the semi finals and the final.
By the halfway Fraser held a clear three-metre lead on the rest of
the field with Stewart her nearest pursuer. Jeter was a distant third
and was struggling to reproduce her 10.84 personal best time, recorded
in the second semi-final earlier tonight.
Gradually though the longer-striding Stewart was making inroads on
the diminutive Fraser and as the finishing line approached she was
reducing the gap with every stride. The two Jamaican lasses lunged
desperately for the line but Fraser held on. Jeter comfortably took the
bronze, but with 0.07 seconds slower than her semi final timing.
Nevertheless, Jeter denied Jamaica what would have been the first ever
clean sweep in this event at a World Championships.
After her triumphant run, Fraser knelt down to the track and held her
head in her hands in almost disbelief at what she had just achieved.
The 22-year-old had not only climbed to joint third on the all-time
lists - equaling the mark of 10.73 set by Christine Arron of France, but
became only the second woman in history to simultaneously hold the World
and Olympic 100m titles (the other being American Gail Devers) and also
wrestled the Jamaican record from Stewart.
The silver medalist, Stewart, had herself equaled her personal best
mark posted at the Rome Golden League meeting.
Fraser was off her blocks in a flash at 0.146 and her ability to
shift her legs over the first five metres gave her the distinct
advantage as she approached the finish line like a bullet. Debbie
Ferguson-McKenzie was awarded sixth from her countrywoman Chandra
Sturrup, although both the Bahamas lasses were credited with 11.05.
Jamaica’s Aleen Bailey was eighth in 11.16 in the 100m final which has
four Jamaican women.
The fastest woman at Berlin 2009 Championship said that she aimed to
run the best race of her life. “I knew that if I want to do the best
race, I have to work on my start. Neither the victory nor the timing of
10.73 is a surprise for me. If you look at the timings of the semis, it
was clear that the final was going to be even faster,” she said.
“I left all the world behind me down there on the track. I wanted to
win and made a perfect start and then executed well,” she said while
proudly raising the Jamaican flag.
The 100m silver medalist Stewart said that she was satisfied with the
outcome. “This is not what I wanted, but I gave everything I had. I am
happy to be part of this great race with incredible times. My time will
come. I will have to work on my start. I am amazed, this was a great
race with an amazing time for me and Shelly-Ann,” she said.