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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jamaican spree - Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce wins 100M at Beijing

There are many islands of the Caribbean and Jamaica is an island Nation of the Greater Antilles – 234 km in length.  Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the south-eastern coast of the island. 

The island Nation Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies.  Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962 – that was on 6th August 1962. 

In 2012 Olympics, after the much touted 00M – it was Men’s 200M finals and it was to be Usain Bolt again…. –the problem with Legends is that the expectation of the people builds up expecting them to outperform themselves everytime.   Bolt won in style but not a World Record – it was the 4th fastest and of the 3 in front, it was Bolt himself twice and running mate Yohan Blake once.  With Warren Weir claiming a shock bronze in 19.84sec.  it was 1-2-3 for Jamaica.

Now at Beijing, in World Athletic Championship, Gatlin was beaten and Usain Bolt maintained his considerable reputation; it was the turn of his compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as she added to her growing legacy as the possibly the greatest female sprinter in history.Despite facing the fiercest of competition, the diminutive Fraser-Pryce continues to defy her lack of inches to deliver time and time again.

No matter how hard her rivals try, nobody can knock the outgoing Jamaican from her perch as the empress of sprinting.   Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce underlined her status as Queen of the Sprints with an unprecedented third world championship 100 metres title at the Bird's Nest stadium on Monday.  With her long, dyed green braids flowing behind her, the diminutive Jamaican was not quickest out of the blocks but soon got into her stride and powered down the track in 10.76 seconds to add to her titles in Berlin in 2009 and Moscow two years ago.Back at the same arena where she won the first of her two Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Games, Fraser-Pryce locked up a fifth title in the last six major championships in the blue riband sprint.
Photo credit : www.iaaf.org/

 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is a Jamaican track and field sprinter. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce ascended to prominence in the 2008 Olympic Games when at 21 years old, the relatively unknown athlete became the first Caribbean woman to win 100 m gold at the Olympics. In 2012, she successfully defended her 100m title, becoming the third woman to win two consecutive 100m events at the Olympics.
No woman in history can boast of as many global 100m titles.It was also her sixth World Championship gold medal and she now sits on her own as the woman with the second highest total of golds in the 32-year history of the event, one clear of five-time world champions Gail Devers, Sanya Richards-Ross and TiruneshDibaba. US sprinter Allyson Felix is top of the pile on eight gold medals.

The 28-year-old Jamaican, sporting an unusual look of green hair with five yellow sunflowers on the fringe, has an uncanny ability to reach top speed quicker than her rivals out of the blocks. By 30 metres, the Jamaican ‘Pocket Rocket’ had already established a gap on her rivals with her countrywoman Veronica Campbell-Brown – one of a trio of Jamaicans in the final – prominent with US champion Tori Bowie also in the mix.

The  long-striding European champion DafneSchippers presented the Jamaican’s most demanding challenge over the second half of the race.Schippers had an outstanding race clocking 10.81 to trim 0.02 off the Dutch record she had set just two hours earlier in the semi-finals.Schippers became the first athlete from the Netherlands to win a women’s 100m medal at a global championship since the great Fanny Blankers-Koen, the IAAF female athlete of the 20thcentury, struck gold at the 1948 London Olympic Games.  

Behind the leading two, Bowie backed up the prevailing mood that she was a smart medal chance following her outings through the rounds and took the bronze in 10.86.The big disappointment was Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare who, after running 10.89 in her semi-final earlier, clocked 11.02 for eighth.

Concluding there has to be reference to Cricket ! – the Jamaican ground has the spectacular backdrop of Blue mountains.  In 1976, India toured West Indies under Bishan Singh Bedi.    WI won the first test atBridgetown, by an innings and 97 runs.  The second one at Port of Spain was drawn and the third one on Apr 1976 was historic.  Indians chased 405 in the fourth innings and won by 6 wickets with Sunil Gavaskar and Vishwanath making centuries, ably supported by MohinderAmarnath, Brijesh Patel and Madanlal.

With that background of humiliated pride of WI -  Test no. 776 on 21 – 25th April 1976 was bloody.  The scorecard would read  India 306/6 decl !! ; WI 391 all out.  India 97 all out and West Indies making the 13 runs required without losing a wicket.  Statistics will never reveal the real story.

WW Daniel made his debut in a bloody test, where Indians were intimidated with crowds calling for blood.  Wisden reported that the bounce was uneven and match folded much earlier.  No doubt the WI had class quickies but the strategy was questionable and many batsmen suffered nasty injuries trying to take evasive action.  The short pitched bowling was overdone and Holding from round the wickets caused most damage to the bodies of Indians.  The result could not have been dreamt of from the first day.  At stumps on bad light curtailed day one Indians were 178/1; Gavaskar bowled Holding for 66; AnshumanGaekwad 58* and Mohinder 25* firm at the crease.  Gaekwad’s innings was one of raw courage taking several blows on the body and arms – the gears were not so protective those days.  With the score at 237 Gaekwad was forced to retire bleeding in his ears.  At 273 Brijesh Patel retired hit on the mouth.  At 306 Venkatraghavan got out.  Bedi wished to protect himself and Chandrasekhar from injuries and hence declared at 306/6.  That would be remembered as the  test when one player after other had to be escorted to hospital with bleeding injuries.  Fredericks scored 82 and at one stage WI floundered at 217/6 recovered to make 391.  Chandra took 5 for 135; Bedi&Venkat two apiece.

In the Second essay, Gavaskar failed to Holding and half of the team was not fit to play.   Mohinder made a gutsy 60.  Only Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Mohinder, Madanlal, Kirmani and Venkat padded up.  Gaekwad was not in a position to play – so also were GundappaVishwanath and Brijesh Patel.  Bedi& Chandra did not bat for the second time and with 5 batsmen absent hurt – it was recorded that Indians were all out for 97.

A sad test it was – with such a bloody end.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Aug 2015.

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