Tokyo Olympics updates
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It has been 33 years since Florence Griffith-Joyner set the present world document within the girls’s 100 metres. A era later, one of many best fields of feminine sprinters ever assembled has a shot at taking it down.
The ladies’s 100 metres is shaping as much as be the race of the Tokyo Olympics, that includes two defending gold medallists and a number of the quickest occasions ever run since FloJo’s blistering 10.49 efficiency in 1988.
In first-round heats on Friday, sprinters set or equalled three nationwide information, one African document and two private bests.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 2008 and 2012 champion and the 2016 bronze medallist, is favorite after operating 10.63 at a race in her native Jamaica in June, the second-fastest time in historical past.
Requested in Tokyo if she may higher that, she mentioned: “Undoubtedly.”
The explanation for the scintillating occasions, a number of of the sprinters mentioned, was the fierce competitors.
“Everybody simply rises to the event,” mentioned US athlete Jenna Prandini. “If any individual’s operating quick, everybody else desires to be aggressive and get to that degree, too. I believe it’s only a joint effort in all of us being aggressive with each other.”
Fraser-Pryce mentioned there have been too many proficient girls within the subject to single out one high challenger: “There’s rivalry with all people.”
After three Olympics the place the eyes of the world have been on her compatriot Usain Bolt, she is happy for girls to be within the highlight. “For feminine sprinting it’s lengthy overdue. I hope it undoubtedly lives as much as the expectation.”
Bolt has mentioned he’s extra excited concerning the girls’s 100 metres in Tokyo than the boys’s, telling the Guardian earlier this month that “the ladies’s finals will probably be certainly extra fascinating”.
However there was a touch of stress within the nationwide stadium in Tokyo on Friday when a number of the high sprinters have been requested concerning the absence of Sha’Carri Richardson. The American, who ran 10.72 this yr to make her a powerful contender for the gold, shouldn’t be competing in Tokyo after testing optimistic for marijuana.
“I’m not right here to speak about Sha’Carri. I don’t know the way that’s going to assist us proper now,” mentioned Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.
Fraser-Pryce and defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah mentioned “no remark” and abruptly walked away from reporters.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who led the primary spherical with an African document 10.78, mentioned she was “in shock” on the quick occasions being run in Tokyo on the primary day of competitors.
“I actually didn’t anticipate to run as quick as I simply did. I’ve by no means run right here. I didn’t even prepare within the warm-up space. So it’s my first time and I used to be like, ‘wow!’”
There could also be some technical variables contributing to this yr’s pace. The introduction of carbon-fibre observe spikes because the final Olympic Video games has been extensively credited with serving to runners attain sooner occasions in distances from the 100 metres to the marathon.
Tokyo’s scorching and humid climate can also be favoured by sprinters, who say it prevents muscle tissue from stiffening and permits for extra fluid operating dynamics. “It’s good to execute within the warmth as a result of there’s much less stress,” Fraser-Pryce mentioned.
Fraser-Pryce additionally credit her efficiency with taking a yr off to provide delivery to a son between the Rio Olympics and Tokyo to “rejuvenate my motivation”.
Is the strongest line-up since FloJo including to the stress? “Are you kidding me?” mentioned Teahna Daniels, the highest American qualifier for Saturday’s ultimate. “That is essentially the most anticipated race, and simply to be in it, simply to be competing, I’m soaking in each second.”