Newly-minted world 200m champion Shericka Jackson hopes that Jamaican teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will bring the most out of her when they go head-to-head in the 100m at today’s Diamond League meet in Monaco.
Jackson’s showdown with Fraser-Pryce, who won a fifth 100m title in Eugene last month at the age of 35, is just one of a handful of tasty clashes in a meeting that has established itself as one that arguably features the strongest line-up of the season.
Other key duels include world 200m champion Noah Lyles taking on world 400m champion and American teammate Michael Norman over 200m.
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim will headline the competition in the men’s high jump.
The men’s high jump has yet to catch fire this year but the field assembled in Monaco – which includes the top six from Oregon – could finally ignite the event as Barshim renews his rivalry with fellow Olympic gold medallist Gianmarco Tamberi and fellow world medallists Woo Sanghyeok and Andriy Protsenko.
The scene is set for a harum-scarum men’s 1,000m as Kenya’s reigning 800m Olympic and world champion Emmanuel Korir confronts Briton Jake Wightman, who won 1500m gold in Oregon.
Jackson said she could not wait to make her Monaco debut at the Stade Louis II, which has traditionally offered up a fast track and balmy conditions athletes love.
“I love competing with Shelly,” said Jackson, who set a championship record of 21.45 seconds, the second fastest time ever run over the distance, for a first individual world title at Hayward Field.
“It’s been two years I’ve been competing with her and I love it. She always brings the best out of me. She always brings her ‘A’ game. She always keeps positive.” Jackson outgunned Fraser-Pryce on the back straight to win that world 200m gold, but she was more realistic about the 100m, in which she is reigning Olympic bronze medallist. Asked what her gameplan for victory in Monaco was, former 400m runner Jackson joked: “I’m still trying to figure that out! I’ve never beaten her over 100m.”
Fraser-Pryce is in formidable form, having run four 10.67sec winning runs this season as well as a world-leading 10.66sec for victory in Saturday’s 100m at the Silesia Diamond League meeting in Poland.
“Every moment I step on track I just want to enjoy the competition,” Jackson said. “I love to have fun out there and run some fast times. The 100m field is always competitive. Every lady’s coming out there tomorrow to give their ‘A’ game.
“If you continue to think about times, you’ll end up being disappointed,” the 28-year-old all-rounder said, admitting however that she wanted to now run faster than 21.40sec in the 200m. “If it doesn’t happen this season, the coach and I will go back to the drawing board.”
The other five world gold medallists on show include American Grant Holloway (men’s 110m hurdles), two-time Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas (women’s 400m), Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas (women’s triple jump) and Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber (women’s javelin).
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim (left) with fellow Olympic gold medallist Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy during a pre-event press conference in Monaco yesterday.