…Melissa Jefferson is ready to challenge Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and reigning world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the world championships.
by Jean Cherry
(REUTERS) – College student Melissa Jefferson was stunned by an upset win in Friday’s women’s 100m final, but she says she is ready for her next big challenge – competing against the dynamic duo from Jamaica next month.
She will face two-time double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and defending world champion Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price at the World Championships, which will be held on the same track where Jefferson had just won the US title.
The relatively unknown Jefferson said after defeating top American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s race favorite, Elia Hobbs in a blazing 10.69 seconds assisted by the wind, “I (didn’t run against her) and I’m glad I got the chance.”
Richardson was out in the opening match on Thursday.
“I’m up for any challenge and anything that comes my way,” Jefferson said.
He has come a long way in just a few weeks. Earlier this month the Coastal Carolina University sophomore was just eighth in the NCAA women’s 100-meter final, running in 11.24 seconds.
That’s a far cry from Thompson-Hera’s personal bests of 10.54 in Eugene last year and 10.60 Fraser-Price in 2021. Fraser-Price leads the world this year with 10.67.
But Jefferson, who was so unexpected to win this week that Track & Field News didn’t consider her a candidate for a top 10 spot at the US Championships, believes her fast run on Friday will give her a boost, even if Time is windy – helped.
“I saw that 10.69 on the scoreboard was a very surreal moment for me and it gave me a little more confidence,” said the collegiate indoor women’s 60m champion, who clocked a personal best of 10.88 seconds of the 100m.
“I wouldn’t say I doubt myself a lot, but I don’t fully understand what I can accomplish.”
But Jefferson also admitted that winning Friday was a blow.
“A little bit,” she said. “I will be honest.
“It’s one of the biggest encounters of them all and the best of the best. Seeing the fruits of my hard work means everything.”