2019 Rome Diary DL: Considering the women's 100m...


In his final column after Rome, Stuart Weir considers the women stars of the 100 meter field, as they build for the 2019 Doha World Champs.....

Thompson_ElaineFHL-Rome19.jpgElaine Thompson battles Dina Asher-Smith, photo by PhotoRun.net

Women's 100m

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fastest woman of all? So who is going to win the women's 100m in the Doha World Championships?

Bowie_Tori-BosOut18.jpgTori Bowie, photo by PhotoRun.net

The World Champion is Tori Bowie but she has not run much since 2017 due to injuries but she is due to run in Boston on 16 June. She told me the secret of her World Championship win: "I was hoping to get the gold medal but I didn't want to put any pressure on myself. I wanted to stay focused. I had a long chat with the coaches before I went overseas. They said the winner would be: 'the person who can do what they had been taught in training, who can get in the competition and do it there. You have to be focused and go to the line'". That is what she did in London 2017.

Thompson_ElaineR-Rome19.jpgElaine Thompson, photo by PhotoRun.net

Elaine Thompson is the Olympic Champion but she too has been troubled by injuries but a 10.89 (world lead) in Rome last week suggests that she is back in business. When I spoke to Thompson during the indoor season, I asked her about her approach to 2019. She replied: "That's mainly up to my coach and he is doing a great job and has a plan. It'll be the first time that I've ever competed in September because normally by September my season has finished. But I'm excited and I know that my coach knows what he's doing and I'm looking forward to the year". Or the issue of 100 or 200 she explained: "I prefer the 100 but everyone thinks I'm better at 200! But I think the shorter one is better for me but I do need to work on my start". I totally agree, Elaine you really have to sort out that start. After all, you have never run faster than 10.70!

Fraser_ShellyAnnQ-Rio16.jpgShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third in the 2016 Olympics, having battled injuries all that year then she took a maternity break in 2017 running just a few races in 2018. I said that Elaine Thompson had run a world lead of 10.89 on Thursday in Rome. Well, it lasted nearly 48 hours until SAFP ran 10.88 in Kingston on Saturday. That was her second sub 11 seconds race of 2019. I spoke to her at the World Relays in May about life as a mom: "I am just trying to get back to where I was in previous years. It's still a long journey. I am being patient and continuing to work hard, trusting the process and believing that everything will work out according to God's will".

TaLou_MarieFHL-Monaco18.jpgMarie Jose Ta Lou, photo by PhotoRun.net

Then there is Marie Josée, second in the 100 and 200 in the 2017 World Championship who was fourth in Rome after injury delayed her start to the season. She ran 10.86 for fourth in Rio and for second in London, but she was just so close to winning in London as she explained: "I think I could have done better but at the finish - as everyone saw - I didn't quite lean or dip as I crossed the line and that made the difference. I really think I could have done better, faster than10.86. God alone knows. But I won a silver medal with 10.86. I didn't expect more than that and was really pleased".

Asher_DinaR-Stockholm19.jpgDina Asher-Smith, photo by PhotoRun.net

What can we say about Dina Asher-Smith, who never seems to run a bad race. I've seen her run three of her four races this year. She won the 200 in Doha in 22:26 and again in Stockholm in 22:18. Then in Rome in the 100m she was second behind Thompson running 10.94. She told me afterwards: "I'm a bit frustrated because every time I step on the line I want to win but 10.94 is very quick for a season opener. The felt like what I expect from an opener - but a 10.9 and I am really happy". At the event press conference she described being in Rome as "walking in the paths of history". She is., after all, a history graduate.

By the way, Dina's race I did not see was the one she ran for her club in the Southern Athletics League Division 1, the first leg of a 4 by 400. That she used that as her season opener says a lot about an athlete who has not forgotten her roots.

Unlike Walt Disney's my mirror did not give me an answer. Perhaps the question is too difficult even for a magic mirror. Watch this space.

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