Double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce powers from the starting block during a workout at the Rio Olympics.
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — World Championships and Olympic Games gold medallist and joint 100m national record holder Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has left the Stephen Francis-led MVP club and is now training with Reynaldo Walcott at his Santa Cruz-based training camp at the St Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) Sports Complex, impeccable sources have told the Jamaica Observer.
News of the 29-year-old Fraser-Pryce’s move broke late Tuesday night, but the Observer was told yesterday by someone with knowledge of the situation, that she has been “living and training in Santa Cruz”, with Walcott as her new coach.
The source, who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, said IAAF World Under-20 200m bronze medallist Nigel Ellis and Andrew Fisher, who formerly represented MVP and the University of Technology, Jamaica will also be part of the first set of professional athletes who will be part of the club.
Fisher, who represented both Albert Town High and St Elizabeth Technical, switched allegiance last year and represented Bahrain at the Rio Olympics.
The Observer also heard that the club structure and name had already been decided on and will be announced soon.
There will be some familiarity between Fraser-Pryce and Walcott, who was part of the MVP coaching staff up to the 2014 season and had accompanied them to their European base in Lignano, Italy, for years.
Walcott, a former STETHS athlete, has returned to take over the head coach job at his alma mater, developing a number of outstanding athletes, including Ellis, who won the Class One sprint double at the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Sports Association Boys’ & Girls’ Championships in March and the Under-20 100m at the Carfita Games in April this year.
The latest news ends months of uncertainty about Fraser-Pryce’s next move, after it emerged during the Rio Olympics in August that a rift had developed between the athlete and Francis — the man who had guided her since leaving Wolmer’s High School for Girls to be one of the most successful female sprinters of all time and the fifth fastest with a personal best of 10.70 seconds in the 100m.
Despite denials of MVP president Bruce James and others, rumours were that Fraser-Pryce was eager to end her tenure with Francis at the University of Technology Jamaica-based club. just over a month ago, there seemed to be a softening of her stance when Francis told the
Observer that the rift appears to be mending.
Fraser-Pryce, who suffered through a painful toe injury all season which restricted her training and competition, won a bronze medal in the 100m at the Olympics, behind compatriot and former training partner Elaine Thompson — and ran both rounds of the women’s 4x100m relays that won the silver medal behind the Americans.
Fraser-Pryce, who rose to prominence in 2008, has won back-to-back Olympic Games 100m gold medals in 2008 in Beijing, China, and 2012 in London, England; three IAAF World Championships 100m gold medals in 2009 in Berlin, 2013 in Moscow when she also took the double, and 2015 in Beijing.
She has also won the World Indoors 60m gold medal in Sopot, Poland, in 2014.