Morning Chronicle - 'I'm a competitor with belief!' warns record breaker Fraser-Pryce

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'I'm a competitor with belief!' warns record breaker Fraser-Pryce
'I'm a competitor with belief!' warns record breaker Fraser-Pryce / Photo: Jim WATSON - AFP

'I'm a competitor with belief!' warns record breaker Fraser-Pryce

To maintain a track career at the top of one's game demands raw ability, good coaching and a drive that supersedes all.

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has that in spades and on Sunday once again demonstrated her steely desire and sprinting prowess as she bagged a record fifth women's 100m title.

"The secret behind my success is that I am a competitor, I love to compete and I believe God has given me a gift," said the 35-year-old.

At Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, she raced home in her trademark dyed flowing locks in a championship record of 10.67 seconds.

Teammate Shericka Jackson took silver in a personal best of 10.73sec, with four-time Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah claiming bronze (10.81).

What stands out is Fraser-Pryce's winning time: that is to say that at the age of 35, she bagged a fifth gold in a faster time than when she was won in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019.

No matter how you look at it, that is an astonishing accomplishment.

"I somehow feel special," she said. "I always want to compete and show the work that I have been doing.

"I'm hard-working, keen, driven and always hungry to do more.

"It's special, it's my fifth world title in the 100m, and doing it at 35, yes I said 35!

"A lot of times people talk about my age or being a mother, but I think of it as part of the journey in life.

"And instead of thinking of it as something that will negatively affect me, I look at it as a positive experience."

With her sights now firmly set on the women's 200m, Fraser-Pryce fired out a warning shot to rivals as she eyed a sprint double.

"I definitely believe I can run faster and once I have that belief I’m not going to stop until I do it," the Jamaican said.

- 'Trusted myself' -

"I've always just trusted myself and my coach and believed in my abilities and once I'm healthy I'm always going to compete."

Fraser-Pryce said predictions of the Jamaican sweep had been well founded.

"It was definitely something on the cards!" she said. "I’m glad I was the one who finished first in the sweep and I’m glad the other ladies came through and we were able to celebrate the 1-2-3."

It was the first time a nation had swept the medals in the women's 100m at the worlds.

"This is the third 1-2-3 that I've been a part of and I'm so excited. Today I was able to come away with the win.

"I feel blessed to have this talent and to continue to do it at 35, having a baby, still going, and hopefully inspiring women that they can make their own journey."

One of the first athletes to congratulate Fraser-Pryce was American Allyson Felix, who bowed out of competition with a 19th world medal, a bronze, in the 4x400 mixed relay in Eugene.

"35 years old! A mother! 10.67! 5th world title! Yessss @realshellyannfp it’s your night!!!" tweeted Felix, a leading advocate for female athletes' rights.

Fraser-Pryce reacted by saying she was "just hoping that I'll add to inspiration like Allyson to show women that you can have success after 30, you're not limited by anything.

"And I know especially for shoe companies, they like to think that when women reach a certain age, they want to discard them, but I'm grateful that I'm showing women that it can be done."

There will now be a more subdued celebration for Fraser-Pryce with her family, who shy away from the razzmatazz of the blue riband event of track and field.

"My husband and my son were in the stands, but funnily enough they don’t really like the spotlight so they sit all the way up the top to not have anyone see them."