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Fraser-Pryce kicks off fan-less Olympic athletics

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She cleared the first round heats today and is due to run in semi-final heat 3 at 7.31 p.m. Japan ST (4.01 p.m. Sri Lanka time).

It is going to be a testing time as the world’s best women sprinters put up some exciting times.

Fraser-Pryce began her quest to become the first woman to win three 100m titles clearing the first hurdle as the track and field competition got underway this morning (30) with a series of heats and qualification rounds held in hot and humid conditions.

The atmosphere was eerie with no spectators in the 60,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. But the incessant buzzing of cicadas from outside the arena was clearly audible inside the venue as athletic action got underway. The conditions were ideal as the women’s sprinting commenced. The women took full advantage with six sprinters going under 11 seconds in the 100m heats. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast stole the show, blasting to victory in her heat in 10.78 seconds, equalling the African record and recording the fifth-fastest time of the year.

“I really didn’t expect to run this fast. I have never run here. I didn’t even train in the warm-up area. It’s my first time and I was like, ‘Wow!’ I’m in shock actually,” said Ta Lou.

She finished fourth in the 100m and 200m at the 2016 Rio Games.

Fraser-Pryce and two other leading Jamaicans all advanced comfortably to Saturday’s semi-finals.

Fraser-Pryce, the 34-year-old, who went to No.2 on the world all-time list with her 10.63 run in June, is competing in her first Games as a mother.

“It’s good to execute in the heat. I guess there’s less pressure, and then it gets to the semis where it’s a little bit more pressure. You just want to make sure that you execute,” Fraser-Pryce said. She eyes fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt’s three Olympic 100m titles, and becomes the first woman to win a single individual Olympic athletics event three times.

Reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah got off to a great start and charged home to victory in her heat in 10.82 seconds.

Olympic and world 400m medallist who is focusing on shorter sprints this year and Shericka Jackson advanced by finishing second in her heat in 11.07s.

All three Jamaicans are entered for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in Tokyo.

European indoor champion Ajla del Ponte of Switzerland set a national record 10.91, beating the mark of 10.95 set just a few minutes earlier by world 200m bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji. Another to go under 11 seconds was Britain’s Daryll Neita, who clocked a personal best of 10.96s.

Teahna Daniels, third at the US trials, won her heat in 11.04 ahead of world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith of Britain in 11.07.

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