After 'amazing' accomplishments tired Thompson-Herah content to continue pursuit of world record next season

By Sports Desk September 09, 2021

Jamaica track and field star Elaine Thompson-Herah has her eyes set on eclipsing the long-standing women’s 100m record, but after adding the Diamond League trophy to her list of outstanding accomplishments this year, she is content to leave that feat until next season.

Once again, the Olympic champion proved to be in a class of her own on Thursday's Diamond League finale, in Zurich, pulling well clear of a quality field to stop the clock at 10.65.  The time was the athlete’s fourth run under 10.7s this season, the most times done by any female athlete in history.

The performance marked yet another outstanding achievement for Thompson-Herah who a few weeks ago claimed the sprint double in Tokyo, and also in the process broke American Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding 100m Olympic record.

However, it was a performance a few weeks later, a jaw-dropping 10.54 set in Eugene, Oregon, that set tongue’s wagging and raised expectations for a world record challenge.  The time was not only the second-fastest ever run over the distance but just 0.5 seconds outside of Griffith-Joyner’s world record, for many years believed to be unapproachable.  After a long, tiring but extraordinarily successful season, however, the athlete is more than content to leave that pursuit for another time.

“It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one. I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity,” Thompson said following the event.

 “I am really happy and grateful. I am tired now but this is my job. I would describe this season with one word: amazing, yet it had ups and downs. I have to give God thanks that I am healthy and that I could finish such a long season…This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind.”

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    Inside the National Stadium in Kingston, the well-chiselled McLeod exploded at the 250m mark and pulled away from the field to win handsomely in 50.58. In her devastating wake were the Sprintec pair of Tiffany James and Ashley Williams, who ran 52.10 and 53.40 for second and third, respectively.

    McLeod’s winning time was the third-fastest by a Jamaican woman behind Charokee Young (49.87) and Stacey-Ann Williams (50.21).

    Surprisingly, she was pleased but not overly impressed with the performance.

     “I feel okay but I feel like I have a little more (to give). I feel like I was just working on what we have been working on in training,” she said following the victory.

    The new race plan that she and coach Fitz Coleman has been putting together is intended to take her to the next level because despite running a massive personal best of 49.51 at the Olympics last summer, McLeod feels as if she needs to suffer to get the best out of her body.

    “Honestly, even when I ran 49.5, I never felt like I gave it my all. I didn’t feel the leg pain, the headaches and whatever so I feel like I didn’t do enough,” she explained.

    “I have always wanted to feel at my maximum regardless of what it feels like. I want to feel like I am dying so I felt like I needed to switch it up a bit to get that dying feeling. Today wasn’t bad, it still wasn’t there but it’s getting there.”

    That plan has been coming together since the outdoor season began earlier this year when she opened with 51.78 at the MVP Velocity Fest meet in Kingston on April 2 before flying off to Bermuda where in extremely windy conditions on April 9, she clocked a solid 51.57. She was second in both races to the 2019 World Championship 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

    The University of the West Indies accounting graduate followed up on April 23 with what was then a season-best 51.20 in Kingston.

    However, just over a week ago, on May 13, the 25-year-old Olympic finalist ran her worst race of the season clocking 52.37 in a fifth place finish at the Doha Diamond League meeting. Despite the poor showing, McLeod said that race was important to her plans for this season even if things didn’t work out as planned.

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    “It was the wind. It was bad execution by me too. Bad judgement of the wind and as for recovery, I am not too keen or known to recover well after travel but I am working on that. It takes time.”

    She expressed confidence that most, if not everything, will fall into place by the time Jamaica’s National Championships roll around in late June when she believes a new lifetime best is probable as she heads into the World Championships in Oregon just over two weeks later.

    “With practise comes improvement,” she said. “Everybody wants to be better than they were before so if I get that (below 49.51) then, wow. If I get 49.5, then wow again, but I am working towards just bettering myself,” said McLeod who is relishing the prospect of going up against the best that Jamaica has to offer, namely Young, Williams and defending national champion, Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

    “I am very confident in my preparation, my conditioning and everything. I love competition. It’s all fun for me because I love what I do, so regardless, competition or not, I am here for it,” she said.

     

     

     

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    Reigning Olympic bronze medallist in the Women’s 100m Shericka Jackson narrowly finished second in the Women’s blue-ribband event, running 11.12 to finish behind British 2019 200m World champion Dina Asher-Smith (11.11). Asher-Smith’s countrywoman Daryll Neita was third in 11.14.

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