Thompson, Fraser-Pryce ready to explode – Francis
World-renowned track and field coach Stephen Francis is expecting his double sprinting delight, Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, to be at their best when the IAAF World Championships gets under way this weekend at the Khalifa Stadium.
Francis, who admitted that the belated start to the championships posed some challenges, stated that the pair was in good condition and was showing very positive signs in training ahead of their head-to-head clash, which starts with the 100m heats on Saturday.
“I think that they are at least as good as they were at the trials, and we are trying to get them a little better, but it was difficult this season trying to manage their shape or form. Hopefully, we didn’t make any mistakes and it will turn out well on the weekend,” Francis said yesterday after a training session at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium inside the Qatar Sports Club.
“All I’m doing is expecting them to go to the final and run well technically. I don’t worry too much about outcomes. I am hoping that it is at least 10.73 [seconds],” added Francis.
Thompson and Fraser-Pryce are the joint world leaders in the 100m, sharing a time of 10.73 seconds. In fact, they have been so dominant and consistent in the event this season that their names are beside seven of the top 10 times in the event so far this campaign.
In the 200m this year, Thompson’s 22.00 seconds makes her the fastest athlete entered for the event in Doha, with Bahamian world leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo (21.74) concentrating her efforts solely on the 400m at this championship.
Fraser-Pryce is also entered to compete in the 200m in Doha and will face the starter as the fifth-fastest at the championships, with a season’s best of 22.22 in the event.
With the World Championships leaving its usual summer slot and being staged at the back end of September into early October, Francis, like all the other coaches, has had to rethink his approach to the season.
It’s left to be seen how the various executions manifest themselves over the next few days, with the veteran coach admitting that there are still a few unknown elements.
“Because we had the championships (National Senior Championships) early, it meant you could almost have another season of training, but the timing of that is still iffy because the last competition was nearly a month ago, so it’s tricky, but hopefully, based on what we have seen so far in training, it has been going well, so they should turn up in good shape,” Francis said.
The coach wouldn’t go too much into whether or not he thinks their head-on rivalry was good for their motivation and drive going into the championships.
“They have been training together for a long time, so it’s nothing new. I don’t know if it helps them or if they were apart, if it would matter, but what I do know is that they are both extremely good, so all we can speak about is what is there,” Francis added. “I can’t say how good it is for them to train together because maybe if they weren’t, it would be better for one or one would be worse, who knows?”
The women’s 100m heats get under way at 4:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. Jamaica time) on Saturday.