Francis proven right as Thompson wraps stellar season

September 10, 2016
Caster Semenya of South Africa wins the women's 400m at the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme athletics event, at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels. Jamaica's Stephenie-Ann McPherson was thrid in 50.51 seconds. (AP Photo)
@Normal:Julian Forte of Jamaica celebrates after winning the 200m at the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme athletics event, at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels yesterday. Forte clocked 19.97 seconds.
Elaine Thompson of Jamaica (centre), wins the women's 100m ahead of Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, (left), and Carina Horn of South Africa at the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme athletics event, at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels on Friday, September 9. (AP Photo)

BRUSSELS, Belgium:

In 2015 Elaine Thompson ran a couple of 10.8s and three 10.9s in the 100m in what many felt was as good as any sign that she should run the 100m and 200m double at the World Championships in Beijing that summer.

Her coach Stephen Francis didn't seem to think so.

Francis wasn't convinced and instead had her focus on the 200m, with the sprinter winning a silver medal in one of the fastest times ever in the event - 21.66.

This year, however, she was unleashed. Bubble wrap was removed, chains were cleared and liked a well-greased locomotive, Thompson has simply been unstoppable, having her way with her competitors raising her stock with each success.

The Jamaican claimed her 12th win in the event this year, closing her account without defeat in the 100m. In fact she's only been beaten to the line twice in the last two seasons.

She has turned into a beast in the event and is showing a consistency that is both impressive considering she is still at the top end of her learning curve.

amazing year

Yesterday's 10.72 seconds win at the Brussels Memorial van Damme Diamond League meet, which by the way equalled Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's meet record, was her fourth legal time under 10.80 seconds this year; the most by any athlete this season.

Still surprised by an amazing year that saw her also win double sprint gold at the Olympic Games, Thompson paid tribute to Francis' decision as she reflected on the just ended season.

"I know coach (Francis) knows what he's doing and if he thought I wasn't capable of doing it last year, he's going to work on it for the other year and that's what he did and I think he proved that (he was right) this year with me," Thompson told STAR Sports.

"It's been a long journey and I have to give God thanks and I have to thank Stephen Francis, who transformed me into this person that I am right now," Thompson continued.

"I am a bit surprised with everything that has happened this year," she admitted. "Last year I was just doing the 200m and this year I am a double Olympic champion and Diamond Race winner. There are so many words I could use to describe everything but maybe the one word that best summarises everything is 'wonderful'. Its really just been a wonderful year."

Like she has done for much of the year, Thompson, yesterday, left the blocks in a hurry and had the field beaten from her first few strides, pulling away as the finish line grew closer.

Her rival Dafne Schipper (Netherland), 10.97 was second with another young Jamaican, Christania Williams, the Olympic finalist, taking third in 11.09 in +0.6 wind.

Simone Facey was sixth in 11.23 with Natasha Morrison running eight in 11.64.

Thompson win gave her a first hold on the Diamond Trophy and also ensured that after Fraser-Pryce's wins in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and Veronica Campbell-Brown's triumph in 2014, a Jamaican took home the women's 100m Diamond Race win for the fifth straight year.

She now has the target on her back but judging on what she has already shown, it looks like its going to take some effort to get her off her perch in the seasons to come.

Other Sports Stories