BEIJING: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became the first woman to win three world 100m titles and completed a Jamaican sprint double as she emulated Usain Bolt by storming to victory on Monday.
The pint-sized Jamaican, un¬missable with a yellow flowered garland on top of her bright green braids, shot out of the blocks and eased home, right arm raised, in 10.76 seconds.
Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers took silver in a national record of 10.81sec with American Tori Bowie claiming bronze (10.86) in the climax to day three at the world championships in Beijing.
Double Olympic champion Fra¬ser-Pryce also won world gold in 2009 and 2013, and sealed her third title a day after Bolt won a thrilling 100m duel with America’s Justin Gatlin.
It came seven years after Fraser-Pryce came to the Bird’s Nest as an outsider at the 2008 Olympics, and left with 100m gold.
“When I ran the heats, I remembered when back in 2008 at the Olympic Games I was 21 years old,” Fraser-Pryce said.
“I expected nothing then. I came out here again tonight—with a gold medal.”
Fraser-Pryce, however, was outdone by Ezekiel Kemboi, the flamboyant Kenyan who held his nerve for a remarkable fourth consecutive world gold in the 3000m steeplechase—an event he has dominated for the best part of 11 years.
“I’m so happy about my fourth consecutive title,” said Kemboi, who attacked the final hurdle like a high hurdler when he sensed team-mate Conseslus Kipruto closing on him down the final straight.
Kipruto eventually took silver with another Kenyan, Brimin Kiprop Kipruto, completing the podium with bronze.
“The race was really fast. On the last lap nobody could follow me. I will be celebrating tonight with my team-mates.”
Kemboi also won Olympic golds in 2004 and 2012, and was clear what his aim for next year would be.
“My next big goal, of course, are the Rio Olympic Games,” the 33-year-old said.
Mother of all comebacks
Another champion to defend their title was Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen, who leapt 14.90 metres for triple jump gold and stretched her amazing winning streak to 29 competitions.
There was a second Kenyan track gold when Vivian Cheruiyot regained the women’s 10,000m title, producing a commanding last-lap surge for victory just a year after starting a family.
Cheruiyot, who previously claimed the 10km title in Daegu in 2011 and is also a two-time world 5000m champion, clocked a winning time of 31:41.41.
“This is my real comeback,” beamed the Kenyan, who said will not attempt the double here.
“I had many thoughts in my head during the race but I told myself I want to win, no matter how hard it is.
“It is even more precious now after I became a mother a year ago. I dedicate this medal to my son.”
But there was to be no happy ending for pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, who had to settle for a share of bronze as his world championship jinx continued.
Canada’s Shawnacy Barber, 21, snatched gold with a best of 5.90 metres, winning on countback from defending champion Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany.
Olympic champion Lavillenie could only clear 5.80 for a share of third with Polish pair Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski.
Lavillenie had previously won a silver in Moscow and two bronzes in the Berlin and Daegu worlds, but he was unable to claim a long-overdue gold as he came unstuck at 5.90m.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. “5.90 usually is not difficult for me, but it happens to everyone. If it doesn’t want to go, it just doesn’t. I tried. I cannot hide my disappointment. Pole vault is like this.”
The contest came down to a battle between Barber and Holzdeppe, the Canadian coming out victorious on countback.
“It’s been a crazy year,” said Barber. “I don’t think it has quite hit me yet, but I’m sure that will come tonight when we start celebrating.”