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Sunday, August 1, 2021

100M dash - Elaine Thompson-Herah takes Gold with new OR at Tokyo

My favourite writer genius  Sujatha wrote a novel in Kumudam titled ’10 second mutham’ – a story of an Indian female athlete who is trained to break the barrier of 10 seconds and her emotional relationship with the coach formed the nucleus of that story. 

Olympics 2008 at Beijing  was all about Usain Bolt.   In the 100M final, Bolt broke new ground, winning in 9.69 seconds.   Later he  cut a few more seconds out of that. 9.58 is the World Record and 9.63 is the Olympic record in 100M and both belong to Bolt.  Five years  back at Rio, as the globe waited, it was predictably Usain Bolt, the Jamaican  again crowned the fastest man on globe finishing at 9.81 seconds in 100M dash.  Justin Gatlin of US finished next with 9.89S;  Andre De Grasse, Canada, 9.91; Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 9.93; Akani Simbine, South Africa, 9.94; Ben Youssef Meite, Cote d’Ivoire, 9.96 – all finishing under 10 seconds.  In the women section, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica won gold in 100M sprint with 10.71 seconds finish (under 10 has never been run by any women anywhere !); Tori Bowie of US 10.83 and much expected Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica coming third at 10.86 seconds.

By now, you would have noticed the dominance of Jamaica in sprint.  It is a place that  has produced Steve Bucknor, the Umpire, Cricketers -  Chris Gayle, Courtney Walsh, George Headley, Michael Holding amongst other famous people from the island.  Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba.  Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, and the Spanish imported African slaves as labourers. Named Santiago, it remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on slaves imported from Africa.  Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation on 6th  August 1962.

When the first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, Thomas Burke won the 100m gold medal with a time of 12 seconds. The tight curves of the track didn't make things easy for the competitors with very few world records set at the event.  Sprint racing has come a long way since then. That was the only 12-second time at an Olympics in men's 100m. The timings were reduced to 11-second range from the next Games on. In 1908, they dropped to the 10-second mark. In 1968, Jim Hines won gold with 9.95 seconds - the first sub-10 second mark. Usain Bolt shattered the previous records at the Beijing Olympics first (9.69 seconds) and London Olympics next (9.63 seconds) and this is still not the quickest in the 100m race.

Today at Tokyo as the world watched, Elaine Thompson-Herah broke the Olympic record and defended her 100m title.

Barely two hours after Dina Asher-Smith's Olympic dream was shattered by a hamstring injury, Thompson-Herah stole the show with a quite breath-taking 10.61sec run that broke Florence Griffith-Joiner's 1988 mark by one hundredth of a second. She was followed over by double champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 10.74sec and Shericka Jackson in 10.76sec in a Jamaican 1-2-3.    

It was a Jamaican clean sweep as Elaine Thompson-Herah  took Gold, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Silver  and Shericka Jackson Bronze. Incredibly six women broke 11 seconds, making it the quickest women's final in history. Fraser-Pryce, 34, had got off to a rapid start and led through 60m but was caught by the blistering finishing speed of Thompson. Britain's Daryll Neita was eighth in 11.12sec.

Thompson-Herah told the BBC: 'I have been struggling with my injury back and so forth, I see all the bad comments, and for me to stay focused, held my composure, I take all of my losses, all of my defeats and I use them as my motivation.' Fraser-Pryce said: 'I am excited because as a mother and being my fourth Olympics, to be able to stand again on the podium is just a tremendous honour. I am hoping wherever in the world, mothers, athletes, females we understand that there is so much more we can achieve. British medal hopeful Dina Asher-Smith failed to qualify for the final and subsequently withdrew from the 200 metres event after revealing her struggles with a hamstring injury in the build-up to the Olympics

So, who will it be tomorrow in Men’s 100M Sprint – will there be newer records ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st July 2021 @ 22.00 hrs. 

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