Doha: Jamaican sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce surged to an unprecedented fourth 100m crown and US legend Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s gold medal record tally as the returning new mothers lit up the World Championships here on Sunday.
Fraser-Pryce and Felix, both racing in their first major championships since taking time off from the sport to have children, lit up a pulsating day three of competition even if the action was played out inside a near-empty Khalifa Stadium.
The 32-year-old Fraser-Pryce, who skipped the 2017 championships to give birth to her first child, delivered a barnstorming run to take the 100m in 10.71sec.
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith took silver with a time of 10.83sec while Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou claimed bronze in 10.90sec.
“To be standing here as world champion again after having my baby, I am elated,” said Fraser-Pryce.
“The females keep showing up. We love to put on a performance and for me I am just really happy to come away with the win.”
Fraser-Pryce was in control from the gun, rocketing out of the blocks and taking the lead in the opening 20 metres.
From that point there was only going to be one winner, and the veteran Jamaican swept over the line majestically to add to the world titles won in 2009, 2013 and 2015 before setting off on a victory lap carrying her two-year-old son Zyon.
The two-time Olympic champion’s dominant display was the highlight of day three which also saw US track darling Felix win a record 12th world championship gold medal.
Felix only returned to the sport in July after a 13-month layoff which saw her give birth to her daughter Camryn by emergency c-section last November.
The 33-year-old, who failed to qualify for the individual 400m event in Doha, took gold in the 4x400m mixed relay as the United States motored to victory in a world record time of 3min 09.34sec.
Felix’s 12th gold medal saw her break Jamaican legend Bolt’s record tally of 11 world championship gold medals.
Overall, Felix now has an incredible 26 medals, a dazzling haul that includes six Olympic golds and 12 World Championship crowns.
Felix, competing in her ninth straight world championships, has accumulated more World Championship and Olympic honours than any other track and field athlete in history.
“So special, to have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” Felix said afterwards. “It’s been a crazy year for me.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, there was another gold medal for triple jump king Christian Taylor of the United States. The 29-year-old completed a superb hat-trick of World Championship titles after surviving near elimination in a nerve-jangling final. The two-time Olympic champion and now four-time world champion clinched gold with a leap of 17.92m.
That was good enough to fend off the challenge of compatriot Will Claye, who took silver with a best jump of 17.74m. Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango claimed bronze with a jump of 17.66m.
Taylor, the world champion in 2011, 2015 and 2017, had flirted with elimination at the start of the final after fouling his first two jumps.
Taylor, needing to complete a jump to stay alive, finally got on the board with a leap of 17.42m on his third attempt.
The 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion then took the outright lead with his fourth jump of 17.86m before tightening his grip with an effort of 17.92m. In the women’s pole vault, Anzhelika Sidorova — competing under the Authorised Neutral Athlete banner due to the IAAF ban on Russia over the doping scandal — won with a vault of 4.95 metres.
America’s Sandi Morris took silver with 4.90m while Greece’s Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi took bronze.
Day three’s action will conclude with the women’s 20km race walk later on Sunday, which got under way at 11.59pm local time. — AFP