SPORTS RIVALRY

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah in action during the women's 100m race at the Diamond League, Stade Charlety, Paris, France on Aug. 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah says the competition between herself and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has pushed both top Jamaican female athletes to their very best, according to the Jamaica Observer.

The publication said on Aug. 28 that the rivalry has resulted in both athletes closing in on the world record of 10.49 seconds held by the late American sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner, “which many previously thought was out of reach.”

The Observer noted that both top athletes had shared the Jamaican national record of 10.70 seconds until June this year; “and, since then, have combined to run under that mark five times.”

Thompson-Herah is the world leader with 10.54 seconds that she ran at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting before Fraser-Pryce lowered her personal best to 10.60 seconds at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, ahead of Thompson-Herah who ran 10.64 seconds, the Observer said.

“I would say yes,” the paper quoted Thompson-Herah as saying at a Paris press conference on Aug. 27, about the rivalry between both athletes.

“I ran 10.54 in Eugene, which I never thought I would do, [and] it’s pretty close to the world record,” she added. “And I know that, once I hit that target, others will think they can do that as well.

“She ran 10.63 in Jamaica, which is not far from the WR (world record),” continued Thompson-Herah about Fraser-Pryce. “She is a hard-working woman. She is 34 years old, and that gives me confidence for my (next) Olympics, when I will be 32 years old.

“(I am) a 29-year-old athlete running 10.54, and I know that will motivate her, as well,” she said.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce celebrates winning the women’s 100m final as Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah looks dejected after finishing second at the Diamond League, Lausanne, Switzerland on Aug. 26, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Associated Press also reported on Aug. 28 that Olympic champion Thompson-Herah won the 100 meters in 10.72 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Paris without in-form Fraser-Pryce to rival her.

Thompson-Herah quickly raced clear with a “legal tailwind” at the Charlety Stadium to finish 0.25 ahead of fellow Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the Olympic bronze medalist, the AP said.

It said the winning time would have been fast enough for Thompson-Herah to take Olympic gold in Tokyo — and is the 25th-fastest all-time — “yet is just the eighth best of this standout season.”

The weekend before, Thompson ran the second-fastest women’s 100 in history — 10.54 at Eugene, Oregon. Then, Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.60 on to win their duel in Lausanne, Switzerland, and rise to No. 3 all-time, the AP said.

Citing fatigue on Friday, it said Fraser-Pryce opted out of running in Paris.

Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce’s rivalry over 100 should resume in Zurich at the Sept. 8-9 Diamond League finals, the AP said.

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