The 100 meter races in London are big attractions. There is always two rounds in London, and the races bring out the best performances. Ronnie Baker showed his stuff as did a resurging Shelly Anne Fraser Pryce. Stuart Weir caught up with both champions and provides some of the behind the scenese story.
Who will replace Usain Bolt? That used to be the big question. Today’s 100 meters race saw the top six go under 10 seconds with Ronnie Baker winning in 9.90, exactly the same time as in the prelim.
Already this year Baker has won the Pre (9.78w), Rome (9.93), Paris (9.88) and come second in Rabat (9.98). Today’s race lost some of its glamour with the terse announcement: “Unfortunately, American sprinter Christian Coleman has been forced to withdraw from the Muller Anniversary Games after suffering a hamstring issue in the warm-up”. But, as they say, you can only beat those in the race.
Baker summed up his afternoon’s work: “In the final, I felt like I stood up at the start which kind of took away from my transition and how fast I really could go. But I am really pleased, two races in a short space of time, consistency is key and I know there’s a drop coming when that happens. Overall, I am really happy with that performance.
“I’ve still got to do a bit of tweaking to sharpen up. There’s just small things I need to work on if I am going to get even faster. I know what I can run and it’s still there, I have just got to execute the race pretty perfect to have that happen”.
The women’s 100m was not a Diamond event but it was great to see Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce back in the stadium where she won her second Olympic gold. Great to see her in the event hotel with son, Zyon. Fraser-Pryce won in 10.98 from Dezerea Bryant (11.04).
Fraser-Pryce commented: “I cannot complain because I haven’t raced for ages and I’m happy that the run today was under 11 seconds. It’s hard work racing after having a child but it’s not as though it’s anything I’m not used to. I’m used to sacrificing and making sure that my path is right. Being a mother is my first priority and to come back and be flexible with my training is wonderful and I’m so excited about next year now”.
Bryant gave an interesting perspective on the race: “It was amazing to race Shelly-Ann because I’ve always looked up to her and just to be alongside her was amazing. I thought I had her. Our acceleration is about the same and I had to get out and go with her and stay with her as long as I could”.
It can only be good for the sport to have SAFP back.