By Mitch Phillips
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – All the big names in the women’s 100 metres progressed safely through the World Championships first round on Sunday, with the remarkable Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce looking in great form again as she seeks her sixth title at the age of 36.
The Jamaican, who had an injury-hit first part of the season, blasted out of the blocks and eased home in 11.01 seconds.
Jamaica has taken gold in six of the last eight 100 metres finals – five to Fraser-Pryce – but compatriot Shericka Jackson is probably favourite to extend that domination in Budapest.
Last year’s silver medallist and reigning 200m champion, the season leader with 10.65 seconds, was in cruise control from the start in winning her heat in 11.06.
Their biggest rival is likely to be Sha’Carri Richardson, leading the American charge in her first global championships after being banned from the Tokyo Olympics and failing to qualify for last year’s worlds.
Sporting enormous fake nails that must have made things awkward as she took her position in the blocks, and multicoloured hair braids down to her waist, Richardson looked quietly pleased as she sauntered home in 10.92 – the fastest time of the day.
Pole Ewa Swoboda, probably the best starter in the field, maintained her form impressively in winning her heat in 10.98, while Julien Alfred from St Lucia took the opening heat in 10.99, the only other sub-11 second run in very hot conditions.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who has been in sparkling form in the Diamond League this season, looked sharp in winning her heat in 11.08, the nosiest of the day as home hope Boglarka Takacs also went through.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who defected from Belarus after her high-profile fallout with her home country at the Tokyo Olympics, made her international debut for Poland but failed to progress.
The semi-finals and final take place on Monday. The men’s 100m semis and final are on Sunday evening.
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ed Osmond)
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