The long-awaited and highly anticipated season opener of two-time 100m Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce came at Velocity Fest 8 at National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.
Running in section two of the women’s 200m, Fraser-Pryce was comfortable in winning the race, stopping the clock at 23.19s, while running into a headwind of -1.6m/s. She was followed home by 400m specialist Stephenie-Ann McPherson of MVP who was second in 23.47s and Ronda Whyte of Sprintec who was third in 23.49s.
Running out of lane five, Fraser-Pryce was quickest out of the blocks and covered Whyte who was in lane six, halfway through the turn and came into the straightaway a metre in front. She continued to pull away from the field in the home stretch, leaving McPherson and Whyte to battle for the minor places as she powered to the line, easing up with five meters to go. Despite slowing down at the tape Fraser-Pryce still won by three meters and appeared to have more left in the tank.
Fraser-Pryce had championed the cause for a return of sports, especially track and field to the island earlier this year and was delighted to get her first race of the season under her belt.
“Competition is essential to the training. If you are training for months, you would want to see where you’re at, how the training is progressing, so [we] definitely need the competition, so I am glad I was able to get one [race] in today,” she said.
The Velocity Fest event was the third meet for seniors this year and fans would have been happy to watch the “Pocket Rocket” perform while watching online for the first time in 2021. However, as to when they will get another chance to see her perform remains a mystery as the sprinter herself does not know.
“I don’t know,” was her response to the question as to when she will race again.
“I just know that when I am told to run, I show up, otherwise from that I don’t know when the next competition will be,” Fraser-Pryce said.
As things stand, there are no track and field events scheduled for senior athletes for this weekend.
— Dwayne Richards
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (second right) leads the field into the turn in the women’s 200m at Velocity Fest 8 at National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday. Fraser-Pryce won in 23.19s. Stephenie-Ann McPherson (right) was second in 23.47, Ronda Whyte (second left) was third in 23.49 while Tovea Jenkins (left) was eighth in 24.03s. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)