YOKOHAMA (JAPAN), May 10: Jamaica�s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has called on the country�s track athletes to step up at next year�s Tokyo Olympics � the first since sprint king Usain Bolt hung up his spikes.
The two-time Olympic 100m champ, competing at this weekend�s world relays in Yokohama after returning from maternity leave, predicted a bright future for Jamaican sprinting after Bolt bowed out in 2017 with eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles.
�It�s a totally different feeling without Usain,� Fraser-Pryce told AFP.
�But as anything, with time things change. We have a lot of young athletes here and this is a time for them to create a name for themselves.
�I don�t think any athlete should try and pressure themselves to fill Usain�s shoes,� added the 32-year-old. �What he did was remarkable for the sport, so for us it�s just a case of trying to do our best.�
Jamaica�s male sprinters struggled at last year�s Commonwealth Games, where Yohan Blake trailed in third in the 100 metres and the men�s 4x100m relay team settled for bronze behind England and South Africa. Trinidad and Tobago�s Michelle-Lee Ahye also pipped Jamaica�s Christania Williams to gold in the women�s 100m on the Gold Coast, while England beat the Jamaicans in the 4x100m.
But Fraser-Pryce, who captured back-to-back 100m Olympic titles at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, backed her fellow Jamaicans to hit back in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
�It�s not about Usain, he�s not here,� said the seven-time world champion.
�Yes he left a legacy that I don�t think anyone will match for a very long time. But we have it to look to as inspiration. I think it�s going to be a beautiful transition for Jamaica.�
Fraser-Pryce, whose bid for an Olympic 100m hat-trick ended in bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, admits to sleepless nights being away from her baby son Zyon, born in August 2017.
�In Jamaica we�re about 15 hours behind so I got up at three this morning just to FaceTime,� she said.
�It�s still a surreal moment for me because as a mum I would love to bond with my son every day. But you don�t get that chance as an athlete. It�s very hard to be away.� Fraser-Pryce goes in the women�s 4x200m in Yokohama on Sunday � Mother�s Day, a date not lost on her. � AFP