Jamaica’s female sprint version of Usain Bolt Elaine Thompson danced through the rain to book her place in the 100 metres semi-finals at the world championships in London on Saturday.
The 25-year-old who won Olympic 100m and 200m gold last year made light of the conditions to win her heat whilst her bitter rival Dutch star Dafne Schippers eased through as well, finishing second in her heat.
Thompson looked serene even in the rain that poured down as they rose from their blocks, leading from the off and coasting over the line in 11.05 seconds.
Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel and Ariana Washington of the United States took the other two automatic qualifying spots for Sunday’s semi-finals.
American Tori Bowie who collected a full house of Olympic medals last year — looked mighty impressive in winning her heat, in the same time as Thompson, beating Commonwealth Games champion and perennial world finalist Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria. Schippers the 2015 200m world champion — has been working on her start and she got it just right in her heat bursting from the blocks only to be headed by Ivory Coast’s Marie-Jose Ta Lou who posted a time of 11.00sec.
Schippers, who has admitted relations with Thompson are ‘very bad’, was just happy to get the cobwebs out of her mind.
“It’s the first round so you just want to get it done,” said Schippers, who finished fifth in the 100m Olympic final and took silver in the 200 last year.
“I’ve been working on my starts and that one was okay. My body is feeling good at the moment and I am not tired.I am excited about the semifinals tomorrow (Sunday). It’s a good start for now.” said Schippers.
Ta Lou’s compatriot dual 2013 world silver medalist Murielle Ahoure had a tough old battle in her heat, Germany’s up and coming Gina Luckenkemper confirming her potential with a personal best of 10.95seconds.
The 20-year-old who won double bronze at last year’s European Championships — produced a storming second 50 to overhaul Ahoure and throw down a warning to the favourites.
“It was amazing and I am absolutely speechless,” she said before getting a second wind and adding: “It was a dream to run sub 11 seconds in this stadium at these championships.
“This is so, so good.”
The home crowd who had turned out in their tens of thousands for th morning session were rewarded for their dedication in the final heat as Briton Daryll Neita won edging out Deajah Stevens of the United States.
“Absolutely crazy it was overwhelming,” said 20-year-old Neita.
“I need to calm down put my head down and fire again tomorrow.”