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Jamaican female sprinters ready to prove their worth

14 August 2008

By Gary Smith

Jamaican female sprinters are brimming with confidence and are ready to share the publicity with their male compatriots.

The focus in recent months have been geared towards the men's 100m, which features world record holder Usain Bolt and his Jamaican countryman Asafa Powell, and Shelly Ann Fraser and Sherone Simpson, two of the islands top contenders for a medal in the women's 100 metres are both ready to run into the spotlight as well.

"I'm going into the championships to medal," Simpson said. "I've worked hard for the months, so I do think that my hard work will pay off."

Simpson finished in the top three in both races at the Jamaica trails, but said she was not certain whether or not she would actually run the double in Beijing. She, however, added that if she does take part in both events, she will be ready.

"I'm not sure if I'll be doing both events, but if I do both the 100m and 200m I think I'm ready," she said.

"I'll be taking it one race at a time. First I'll deal with the 100 metres, then I'll look to the 200m, but I'm definitely looking forward to score in both events," she added.

Simpson hopes to secure her third medal as a member of the Jamaican solid 4x100m relay team who are the defending Olympic Games champions.

Fraser, in the meantime, will be making her first Olympic appearance, and while many are surprised to see her going so fast this season, she had no doubt in her mind.

"I've worked really hard for this, so it's an honour to go under 11," the 21-year-old said. "I really put in a lot of hard work to get to where I am now."

Prior to this season, Fraser's best time was 11.31 and a mere 11.72 before that. But she blossomed significantly in the last year under the guidance of coach Stephan Francis at the MVP track club with the like of Simspon and Asafa Powell and she is promises greater things.

"I'm anticipating great results (in Beijing)," the sprinter said. "For me it's just great, honestly, to be here.

"I just want to go out there and do my best (and) achieve as much as possible."

In the absence of defending bronze medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown, who surprisingly finished fourth at the Jamaica championships, the likes of Simpson, Fraser and national champion Kerron Stewart is the trio given the mammal task of keeping the Jamaican reputation at the Games.

They are expected to battle with Americans Lauryn Williams, the defending silver medallist, viewed by many as perhaps the one to beat, Torri Edwards, who has run 10.78 this season and Muna Lee, the winner at the U.S trials.

Track and field competition begins on Friday and it includes the opening rounds of the 100m dashes, but the women take the track on Saturday.

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