Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, in her first public comments on the indecision to resume sporting activities, has moved to dismiss recent suggestions that the authorities should hold off on granting permission to prospective promoters of sporting events applying to the Director of Sports in the Sports Ministry with a view of having their events held.

Her decision to make her views known comes in the wake of an opinion put forward recently by opposition spokesman on health Dr Morais Guy, who says he fears that giving the go-ahead for the resumption of sporting events could cause a significant rise in the number of Covid-19 infections across the island.

“In light of the new spike in numbers, I would recommend that caution be taken to hold off for some time longer. With the current numbers and the resumption of sporting [disciplines] in whatever form there is, the likelihood of a greater spread considering the numbers we have now, plus the interaction of players with each other and the community,” Dr Guy told the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica has recorded close to 2000 new cases in recent days prompting Prime Minister Andrew Holness to announce new restrictions on movement across the island, especially at night.

However, Fraser-Pryce, who is preparing to compete in her final Olympic Games this summer, believes such a move is not progressive and said as much in a lengthy post on her Facebook account on Saturday.

“I note that there has been some push back to the recent decision by the relevant authorities to give permission for the resumption of sporting activities on a case-by-case basis and without spectators,” said Fraser-Pryce who has yet to open her season because of the cancellation of several track and field meets in recent weeks.

“Some stakeholders in the national conversation have bluntly said that in light of the Covid-19 cases spike in Jamaica, the Government should hold off on granting permission to prospective Sporting events holders applying to the Director of Sports in the Sports Ministry with a view of having their events held.

“While I do not wish to make a political statement, from a point of view of good sense and logic, the perspective that the process established, whereby permission for the holding of sporting events should be suspended, is a perspective not shared by the majority of invested parties.”

The four-time world champion and national 100m record holder argued that there is no evidence that sporting events that have no spectators in a stadium or where spectators are socially distant, have contributed to, or are likely to contribute to, a further spike in Covid-19 cases locally.

She added that she does not believe it is beyond the country to separate elite athletes and limit the number of competitors for each track meet while at the same time allowing for some meaningful resumption of events.

She cited the Velocity Fest meets held at the height of the pandemic last year when no athlete who participated tested positive for the virus.

“We should build on this and pave the way for more sporting events to be had in a safe manner,” Fraser-Pryce opined, adding that the reluctance to resume sporting events is having deleterious effects on athletes and sporting organizations.

“I urge the authorities to bear in mind that many participants in the sports industry in Jamaica cannot go overseas to compete. The mandatory two-week quarantine requirement upon return is not feasible and there's no funding mechanism in place to assist those who are struggling badly due to a lack of finances,” she said.

“I also believe there is room to call for genuine additional support to be given to assist the athletes and other participants in the sports industry.”

She said that while she is aware of the risks associated with competing while the pandemic stiff rages, Fraser-Pryce noted that athletes competing in a controlled environment are safer than those going about their regular daily pursuits. 

“Our regular day-to-day activities are way riskier in terms of exposure when compared to a controlled environment, where tests are conducted and participants in the industry - including those who engage in contact sports - are allowed to proceed with their discipline,” she said.

“Additionally, proper structures, which include testing and adherence to protocols, have also been put in place overseas to accommodate the hosting of contact sports including boxing and football, among others.

“I am confident it is not beyond us here in Jamaica to put in place similar systems to limit the risk of Covid-19 spread while at the same time allowing for the reasonable resumption of the sports industry which has contributed so much to Brand Jamaica.

“It is my view that in the interest of the athletes, along with the national and global psyche and the thousand who depend on the industry, we should strongly resist talk of "holding off" on the process allowed for a formal but control and safe resumption of sporting events.”

Elaine Thompson got the gold over Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Track and Field News’ Podiums for 2020.

Readers of the world renowned athletics magazine, Athletics Weekly, have selected Usain Bolt as the greatest athlete of the past 75 years. They placed Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce third among the women.

In a time of national crises stemming from the eight-month old global pandemic, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to come to the rescue of many of those in need.

Eight Jamaican high-school student-athletes had more than 400,000 reasons to smile on Wednesday when they were named recipients of scholarships for the remainder of their high school years by the Pocket Rocket Foundation run by four-time 100m world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The 2020 scholarship awardees were sixth-form students York Shane (St. Jago), track and field and volleyball; Jahiem Wedderburn (Kingston College), lacrosse and football; Samantha Morrison (St. Andrew High School), track and field, swimming; fifth-form student Adrian Nethersole (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; as well as fourth-form students Jasauna Dennis (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; Habiba Harris (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; Oshane Blackwood (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; and Solesha Young (Convent of Mercy), track and field, table tennis, badminton, hockey, netball.

According to the foundation, second to fifth-form recipients, received J$50,000 each while the sixth-formers each got J$60,000.00. The total value of the scholarships this year amounts to J$430,000.

These eight will join the 12 current student-athletes on scholarship, which means that the foundation is supporting 20 scholarship recipients for the duration of their high school education. To date, a total of 50 scholarships have been awarded through the foundation.

This year’s recipients were selected from 58 applications that included applicants from territories outside Jamaica including Turks & Caicos, Cuba, USA, Canada & South Africa). However, the scholarships are only available to Jamaican high school student athletes.

Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shaunae Miller-Uibo ended their respective seasons with the number-one rankings in the 100m and 200m, respectively in what was a track season like no other.

The 2019/2020 track season was characterized by meet cancellations and the introduction of virtual formats because the pandemic that has been sweeping the globe since March. However, meets gradually returned largely before empty stadia but many athletes still managed to deliver world-class performances.

Among them was the 2016 double Olympic champion who was fastest in the world over 100m for 2020.

Thompson Herah’s 10.85 set in Rome on September 17 beat out her compatriot and rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who ended her year ranked second by virtue of the 10.86s run at the Velocity Fest meeting in Kingston’s National Stadium on August 22.

Rising star Sha’ Carri Richardson, in her first full season as a professional, was third fastest with 10.95.

The Bahamian sprint queen was equally impressive in the year in which she set a personal best of 10.98s in the 100m and the world’s best time of 21.98 in the 200m at the Back to the Track Meeting in Clermont, Florida on July 25.

Richardson capped her great year with a personal best 22.00 that was the second fastest for 2020 while Thompson Herah’s 22.19 ranked her third in the world for the year.

Miller-Uibo, who last year set 48.37 the sixth fastest time in history over the 400m was only second best for 2020 with 50.52 set in Monteverde, Florida on July 4. That time was only bettered by Lynna Irby’s 50.50, the fastest time in the world this year.

Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands clocked 50.98, which made her third best in the world for the year.

Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce boasts a treasure trove of gold medals from the many global finals she has won since she burst onto the scene at the Beijing Olympics 12 years ago. She has set many records along the way including the first woman to win a sprint treble at a World Championships in Moscow in 2013, or becoming the first Jamaican woman to win Olympic 100m gold in Beijing in 2008.

However, the 33-year-old veteran, in an interview on the Olympic channel, said her greatest victory occurred at the 2019 World Championships in Doha where became the first athlete to win four 100m World titles.

Winning her first world title after giving birth, made it extra special.

 “My greatest win is coming back and having my son and winning that World Championships,” said Fraser Pryce who took home two gold medals from Doha. She was also a member of Jamaica’s winning 4x100m relay team.

“For a lot of times in my life I have been told what I can do, what I cannot do and what is attainable for me; and here I am putting everything to the test, understanding that we are not limited, we are so much more, we are powerful, we are strong.

“Having my son rejuvenated me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”

The two gold medals Fraser-Pryce won in Doha brought her World Championships gold medal tally to nine.

 

 

 

 

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Two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has targeted breaking the 10.70-second barrier as she goes for an unprecedented third Olympic title in Tokyo next year.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first Jamaican woman and the seventh woman ever to win the 100/200m double at the same Olympic Games.

If she has her way, if the Olympics are held in Tokyo next year, she will be in a pantheon of one- the only female sprinter to successfully defend an Olympic sprint double at the same Olympics.

She believes it is possible but it depends on one key factor.

“(Being) healthy is key because when I am healthy I am in the best shape of my life, I don’t think I have reached that yet. I just want to maintain that health. I really want to capture back my double at the Olympics,” she said while speaking on the Drive Phase Podcast with host Dalton Myers.

“I want to retain my titles.”

When she won the sprint double in Rio, the achievement thrust her into the global spotlight as one of the greatest-ever female sprinters and made her a national treasure in a country known for athletic icons like Herb McKenley, Donald Quarrie, Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt.

However, unlike Fraser-Pryce and Bolt, Thompson-Herah has so far failed to build on that legacy. Injury and illness robbed her of possible gold medals at the 2017 World Championships in London and again at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where she finished fourth in the 100m final, having gone into the meet with the joint fastest time in the world.

She said she doesn’t intend to dwell on those disappointments and will continue to work hard, hoping that that elusive World Championships gold medal will soon be hanging from her neck.

Meantime, she has other goals in mind.

 “I still want to get below that 10.7 barrier,” said the woman who shares Jamaica’s national record of 10.70 with two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“I think I have it in me. It’s just about the time for it to come.”

She also believes she can go faster than her 200m 21.66 PB set in 2015 when she won the silver medal at the World Championships in Beijing, China.

“Once I am healthy anything is possible,” she said.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she is not yet ready to explain her coaching situation.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said she was excited after running another world-leading time in the 100m at the Velocity Fest meeting at the National Stadium on Saturday in what could probably be her final race of the season.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would have been done and dusted 10 days ago and sports fans across the world would still be gathering around water coolers and office enclosures buzzing about the spectacular show put on by the world’s greatest athletes.

With an eye fixed a sprint-double campaign at what would be her final Olympic Games set for Tokyo next year, two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was encouraged by her performance at the Velocity Fest 4 and 5 meets held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce pipped the fourth Velocity Fest 100 metres at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday with a quick 10.87-second-clocking, just ahead of Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Fraser-Pryce won section two of the event, getting the better of Sashalee Forbes, 11.20, and Kasheika Cameron, 11.56.

Thompson-Herah won section three of the event, clocking an equally quick 10.88 seconds to get the better of Natasha Morrison, 11.25, and Anthonique Strachan, 11.46.

When all the times were collated, Fraser-Pryce led from Thompson-Herah, while Forbes was third overall.

Coming into the race, Fraser-Pryce had clocked 11.28, while Thomson-Herah had 11.41.

In the men’s event, the returning Nesta Carter clocked 10.20 to win section 5, just ahead of Oshane Bailey, 10.24.

Carter’s sectional win was only good enough for second, as Tyquendo Tracey’s 10.20 in section four, saw him finish just ahead, while Romario Williams’ 10.21 and second place in that heat saw him third overall.

With two Olympic 100m titles, four World Championship 100m titles and a 200m title, and a World Indoor title among 18 global medals, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has had a legendary career. However, it took a trip to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan to light the flame that propelled her to success.

“I came back home with a fire,” the 33-year-old icon told former Miss Jamaica Universe and Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillips on Phillips’ YouTube show Odyssey.

In the video that has so far garnered almost 55,000 views, Fraser-Pryce revealed that when she joined MVP Track Club, she was still not certain that a career in track and field is what she wanted to pursue.

Even when she was selected to be a member of the Jamaican team, she was still uncertain that this was her path in life.

“I only wanted to go, to go. I was so nervous. I was unsure of who I was at the time…still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said.

“If anybody had asked me at the time what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t say an athlete. It was just there; an opportunity.”

Her indecision about what path she wanted to follow manifested in how she trained during those early days.

“I got to training late most days, didn’t go to the gym because me did believe me was a go get tough. I went to practise and never completed the workouts. That changed when I went to the World Championships,” she said.

However, before the change occurred, Osaka proved to be quite difficult for the then 19-year-old upstart from Wolmer’s Girls. In Japan, she was a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that won the silver medal that year.

However, when she was told that she was running she said she cried because she didn’t want to run. The occasion also unsettled her.

“Separate and apart from that you’re thinking that this is a big thing and I didn’t want to mess it up,” she said.

History will recall that she did not mess things up. Instead, a new reality dawned on her.

“I think what it did for me was that I saw something different. It is almost as if my eyes opened up to a reality that ‘them people ya wuk hard, you nuh’. You see the grit, the glory, you see defeat, you see so many different things, emotions, people crying when they crossed the line.”

It wasn’t all bad though. There were great benefits to being a member of a medal-winning team.

She remembers sitting in the stands cheering teammate Veronica Campbell chasing down the USA’s Tori Edwards but just coming up short at the line. The USA won gold in 41.98 while Jamaica was a mere 0.03s behind in 42.01. Belgium was third.

She happy for what was her first medal but also because “Me inna di money,” she said laughing.

As a member of the relay squad, Fraser-Pryce collected her share of US$40,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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