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Fraser-Pryce on course to match Bolt for sprint gold

24 August 2015, 20:43

Beijing - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce stayed on track for her third world title in the 100 meters, a feat that would match Jamaican teammate Usain Bolt, by coasting into Monday's final.

Like Bolt, Fraser-Pryce came into the championships with two Olympic and two world titles in the 100. And after Bolt stormed to his third gold on Sunday, she is favored to match him.

Also read: World awaits more Bolt magic after doping scandals

Unlike the struggling, stumbling Bolt in his semifinal heat, Fraser-Pryce bolted from the blocks, powered through midway and was able to turn off the power to coast home in 10.82 seconds for the best overall time, .01 seconds faster than former heptathlete Dafne Schippers, who set a Dutch record.

"I think I can go faster," said Schippers, the European champion. "My start wasn't great."

American favorite Tori Bowie was third-fastest with 10.87 seconds.

Even if Bolt's stunning come-from-behind win over the favored Justin Gatlin in the 100 was a day old, it continued to make waves.

Standing on the podium just after receiving his silver medal, Gatlin gestured toward a heckler who was bothering his mother in the stands. He scowled and pointed at the offender.

"I was like, 'Hey, chill out with that. Be a gentleman,'" Gatlin told The Associated Press. "No one has to talk disrespectful to anybody."

Gatlin has been a controversial figure in the sport since his return from a four-year doping ban in 2010.

In the other finals Monday, Kenyan runner Vivian Cheruiyot is the favorite in the women's 10,000 in the absence of Tirunesh Dibaba. By tradition, Kenyans are again expected to dominate the men's steeplechase, and Renaud Lavillenie will be the favorite in the pole vault. The Frenchman, the Olympic champion and world-record holder, has yet to win a world title, however.

Like Lavillenie, Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia is the overwhelming favorite in the women's triple jump and comes into Monday's final with a 28-meet victory streak.

Matching Bolt also was the challenge for Allyson Felix, who got started in a bid to join him at nine world championship gold medals.

With her usual effortless grace, Felix coasted into the semifinals of the 400 meters, her mind focused on getting her first gold in the one-lap race a decade after she won her first world title in the 200. In between, she has won a slew of 4x100 and 4x400 relay and 200 golds.

Coming into Beijing, Felix was tied at eight with Bolt and American track greats Michael Johnson and Carl Lewis. But Bolt went a notch higher with Sunday's stirring victory in the 100.

Not that the statistics worry Felix.

"It's funny, I never even think of the number or anything," said Felix, who will not compete in the 200 in Beijing. "One step at a time."

- AP


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