Doha 2019: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defeats Asher-Smith to regain World 100m crown

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Three

There's no longer a throne big enough to house Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. 

Having surrendered her Olympic titles to Elaine Thompson in 2016 and taken time out to become a mother, it looked as though the 'pocket rocket' had finally burnt out.

However, the 2019 season has been something of a fairytale for the Jamaican and one that finished happily every after with her eighth World Championship gold medal.

What makes the performance all the more astonishing is the time of 10.71 seconds, which is only a whisker short of a personal best set almost a decade ago.

It was always going to take something special to defeat Dina Asher-Smith who - despite coming out on top in the Diamond League final - crossed the line for a silver medal this time around.

Fraser-Pryce gets the better of Asher-Smith

The 23-year-old had no answer to Fraser-Pryce's electrifying start from the blocks, yet there were nothing but positives to take from a historic medal-winning run.

Asher-Smith bettered her own British record by clocking 10.83 seconds, became the first Brit to appear in a World 100m final and garnered her first individual World ribbon.

So, it was no wonder that Asher-Smith paraded the union jack with the very smile that adhered her to the British public long ago. Only now, the performances are getting even better to match it.

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Asher-Smith reflects on historic run

"It's been a lot of hard work, so I'm honestly really proud of myself," Asher-Smith told the British media. "As I'm coming through the mixed zone, it's starting to hit me a bit more.

"To come into an event that I'm definitely good at but globally I'm less comfortable over and come away with a silver and execute with a national record in the final, it definitely means a lot to me.

"A world silver medalist sounds cool! I'm competitive, gold sounded better, but if someone wanted to run 10.71, they're going to run 10.71. 

"I'm definitely a championship girl - I love the occasion, the intensity and the pressure. I don't really get nervous anymore, I just get adrenaline and that means it's all within my control."

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Three

Poor attendance for 100m final

Meanwhile, there was great poignancy in Fraser-Pryce carrying her 2-year-old son, Zyon, while draped in the Jamaican flag on her victory lap.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou continued her run as sprinting's bridesmaid with the bronze medal, Thompson came up short in fourth place and Dafne Schippers was forced to pull out through injury. 

Prior to the race, the IAAF once again unveiled their impressive lights show, but there sadly wasn't the crowd to compliment it with less than 5,000 fans populating the stands.

And while athletes admitted to me that it doesn't impact their performance, Fraser-Pryce and Asher-Smith deserved so much more for their storming runs on the big stage.

Both sprinters will now accelerate their preparations for the 200m and the form-book suggests their places will switch with Asher-Smith coming in as the favourite for a gold medal.

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Bradshaw impresses in the pole vault

Elsewhere in the Khalifa International Stadium, there were even more positives to take for Britain and Holly Bradshaw was especially deserving of praise.

The women's pole vault unfolded as one of the competition's most unpredictable events and Bradshaw a leading belligerent in an absolute war between the world's finest.

In the end, Bradshaw was made to settle for the ever-painful position of fourth, but Doha marked her greatest clearance on the World stage (4.80 metres) and a near-miss of her outdoor personal best.

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4th place behind victorious Sidorova

"I just gave everything I could out there," the British champion explained in the mixed zone. "To clear 4.80, just one centimetre off my outdoor best, I just feel like I couldn't have given any more.

"I definitely feel like I am worth a 4.85. Fourth is still great, but it does hurt a little bit. I'm in a great place and I'm really happy with how things are going.

"I'm in a place in my life where I'm doing it for me and I had so much fun out there. That last attempt at 4.90m, that was probably one of the best jumps I've done in my career. It stands me in good stead for next year."

Anzhelika Sidorova - in the Nike navy of post-Russia athletics - collected the gold by edging out Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi and World indoor queen Sandi Morris.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Three

Britain narrowly miss relay medal

Britain came painfully short of the podium in the inaugural 4x400m mixed relay, which Team USA ended up dominating with their second world-record in as many days.

The quartet of Rabah Yousif, Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond and Martyn Rooney executed a fine race and did enough to reel in the experimental tactics of the Polish team. 

It was insufficient for the bronze medal, Jamaica and Bahrain populated the stouter podium steps, but it provides real optimism going into the 'traditional' 4x100m and 4x400m events.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty gutted that we've just missed out on a medal," Diamond told GIVEMESPORT. "We came here to get one. When I got the baton, I felt like I was in no man's land.

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Historic gold for Allyson Felix

"I tried really hard to get us as close to the Jamaicans as I could, so I could give Rooney someone to chase in the fourth leg but we had something of a messy changeover.

"We fought for it, we ran quicker than we did yesterday. It wasn't to be today, but it's about proving that we can be real contenders for a medal in the Olympics next year."

And part of the winning US team, by the way, was none other than Allyson Felix.

One of the greatest athletes in history, the American broke Usain Bolt's record for the most World medals and followed in the footsteps of Fraser-Pryce in embracing mid-career motherhood.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Three

Taylor bags fourth world crown

In the men's triple jump, Christian Taylor tightened his stranglehold on the event by securing an unprecedented fourth(!) world title over his compatriot Will Claye.

Taylor might not have headed the world rankings coming into Doha, but producing a season's best of 17.94 metres when it mattered proved his unmatchable ability under pressure.

His gold medal in Doha will sit nicely alongside identical titles in Daegu, Beijing and London as well as his two Olympic crowns from 2012 and 2016.

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Lyles gets his World campaign underway

The men's 200m also cranked into gear on day three and it began with the news that Christian Coleman was withdrawing with soreness less than 24 hours after his 100m victory.

However, the ever-bubbly Noah Lyles was sure to embrace the limelight in his absence and breezed through his heat in 20.26 seconds behind Jereem Richards.

The British triumvirate of Miguel Francis, Zharnel Hughes and most impressively Adam Gemili also negated their first rounds in style. They will contest their respective semi-finals tomorrow.

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Centre stage for women's sprinting

The Union Jack is flying over Doha for the first time at the 2019 World Athletics Championships and who better than Asher-Smith to claim the glory?

Sure, it wasn't a gold medal and there's still the 200m to come, but the whole country needs to rally around arguably its greatest ever female sprinter and a downright lovely human being.

It's astonishing to think that Doha is already her fourth World Championships but make no mistake, her first individual medal is the watershed moment for bountiful successes to come. 

All great rulers fall and Fraser-Pryce will leave the throne for Asher-Smith when she does.

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