Olympics: Pryce retains 100m crown to make history (Lead)

August 5th, 2012 - 3:38 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 5 (IANS/CMC) Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce handed the Caribbean its first success of the London Games and became the first woman in 16 years to defend an Olympics 100 metres title when she stormed to victory here.

Despite losing her form toward the finish, Fraser-Pryce was still good enough to cross the line first in 10.75 seconds and repel the challenge from arch-rival American Carmelita Jeter in a close finish Saturday night.

Jeter, the reigning World champion, was timed at a season-best 10.78 while Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown claimed bronze in a time of 10.81, also a season’s best, CMC reports.

With the win, the 25-year-old Fraser-Pryce became the first non-American to repeat as Olympic 100m women’s champion.

American Gail Devers was the last Olympic 100m repeat champion at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

“I trust not in the wisdom of man but in the power of God. What man does or says is nothing to me. I believe in somebody much higher and he helped me to come out here today (and win),” Fraser-Pryce beamed moments after her triumph at the Olympic Stadium in east London.

“He gave me the strength and I worked really hard. He saw how hard I worked and he rewarded me tonight and I have to give Him thanks. I have to also thank my coach (Stephen Francis) who has stuck with me through thick and thin …”

Fraser-Pryce burst from the blocks to take the early lead with Campbell-Brown in pursuit along with Côte d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahoure, with Jeter just off the pace.

After 50 metres, Jeter hauled herself back into the contest from lane five, getting past Campbell-Brown in lane four, as Ahoure faded.

Fraser-Pryce then withstood a strong late challenge from Jeter to hold on grimly for victory.

“The last 30 (metres) I think my form started to break a little. I had a side glance and I saw somebody so I leaned, which I didn’t want to do,” Fraser-Pryce admitted.

“I didn’t execute to a tee. But my coach always told me if I went out there and did my own thing, it’s OK as long as I win.”

She added: “His (Francis) last words to me was to get my first stride out of the blocks correctly and he also said I don’t need to worry about anything, I just need to go out and execute.

“It was a little cold though but I tried to think warm.”

Though disappointed at not winning her first Olympic 100m title, Campbell-Brown was full of praise for Fraser-Pryce.

“I’m proud of her, I know the feeling, and she must be elated,” said the 30-year-old who added to her bronze medal from the 2004 Athens Games.

The American pair of Tianna Madison (10.85) and Allyson Felix (10.89) finished fourth and fifth while Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste was sixth in 10.94 seconds.

Earlier in the semi-finals, Fraser-Pryce ran 10.85 seconds to win the second semi-final ahead of Felix (10.94) and Baptiste (11 seconds).

Jeter took the first semi-final in 10.83 with Campbell-Brown second in 10.89.

Bahamian Shenique Ferguson (11.32), Jamaican Kerron Stewart (11.04) and the Trinidad and Tobago pair of Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.32) and Semoy Hackett (11.26) all dropped out at the semi-final stage.

–IANS/CMC
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