Former World and Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, smashed a 40-year-old record as she stormed to victory in the women’s 200 metres at the Pan Am Games here Friday.
The 32-year-old, the overwhelming favourite heading into the contest at the athletics stadium, clocked 22.43 to dismantle American Evelyn Ashford’s record of 22.45 established in 1979 at the Puerto Rico games.
Brazil’s Vitoria Cristina Rose clocked a personal best 22.62 to be second while Bahamian Tynia Gaither picked up bronze in 22.76.
“It’s a long time since I’ve broken a record so I feel great about that,” said Fraser-Pryce, who won 100m Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012 and World titles in 2009, 2013 and 2015.
“My coach told me to run the first half very hard and I decided to go for it from the gun.”
Running out of lane six, Fraser-Pryce got away quickly, with Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel in lane seven appearing to keep pace.
However, the Jamaican accelerated through the curve and led into the stretch where she was without any serious challengers en route to the finish.
Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, a former World Junior and Pan Junior champion, finished fifth in 22.97 while Trinidadian Semoy Hackett trailed in last in 23.62.
In the corresponding men’s final, Trinidadian Jereem Richards took silver in 20.38 seconds as Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez snatched gold in 20.27, with Yancarlos Martínez of the Dominican Republic third in 20.44.
Richards, champion at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last year, made good ground out of lane two as Panamanian Alonso Edward led the field into the stretch.
However, Quinonez produced a mid-stretch burst to hit the front with 50 metres to run and cross the line with Richards in tow.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd delivered Jamaica’s second record-breaking gold medal of the day when she won the women’s shot put in 19.55 metres.
In the process, Thomas-Dodd smashed the 36-year-old championship record of 19.34m set by Cuba’s María Elena Sarría at the 1983 Venezuela games.
Canadian Brittany Crew (19.07) and American Jessica Ramsey (19.01) rounded out the podium.
There were also silver medals for Jamaica in the women’s 1500 metres where Aisha Praught (4:08.26) followed home winner American Dominique Hiltz (4:07.14), and in the women’s triple jump where Shanieka Ricketts measured a personal best 14.77 metres to finish behind Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas (15.11) – a new championship record.