DOHA, Qatar, Sep 30 – Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce held her son Zyon proudly in her arms as she celebrated winning her fourth world 100 metres title but confessed coming back after his birth had been a long journey both mentally and physically.
The 32-year-old Jamaican sprint legend — who also has two Olympic 100m titles — had been written off by some when she became pregnant and then launched a comeback last year a few months after giving birth.
Fraser-Pryce — who sported an exotically coloured wig and promised a different one later in the week — silenced those doubters as she stormed to victory in a world leading time for the year of 10.71 seconds.
However, she revealed afterwards that having Zyon — who was born in August 2017 the day after the world championships finished in London — had taken its toll.
“It is definitely harder coming back,” she said.
“When I was having my son I was trying to have him naturally (she was in labour for 13 hours) it was not happening.
“I was really scared having a C-section.
“I was off 10 weeks unable to lift weights on my back so doing a lot of hand weights it was definitely a long journey physically.”
Fraser-Pryce — who along with her two brothers was brought up in poverty in Kingston by her single mother Maxine — also had her doubts in the immediate aftermath of Zyon’s birth.
“Mentally it was even harder because you are 30, you are worried about coming back and not being really at the same level,” she said.
– ‘I was not ready to go’ –
Fraser-Pryce, who has been labelled the greatest female sprinter of all time by American legend Michael Johnson, was delighted to celebrate her victory with Zyon in the sparsely-populated Khalifa stadium.
“It is definitely one of those moments that I am very proud of,” she said.
“For athletics and women it is hard to come back to sprinting.
“I remember in 2018 when I was getting back I did not have enough power coming out of the blocks and over the first 30 metres.
“It stressed me out and took a lot of work to put it right.”
Fraser-Pryce — who spends a lot of her free time talking to poor children from the area she was brought up in warning them about the dangers of drugs and telling them they too can succeed — said her victory was one for all mothers.
“For Zyon to witness tonight is a moment to cherish,” she said.
“He reminded me of how hard I had to fight especially as many see that for a woman a baby should not be till you are finished.
“But I had other plans.”
Fraser-Pryce said she was pleased to have proven the doubters wrong.
“I just did not listen. I am one of those people who doesn’t read too much,” said Fraser-Pryce, who will run the 4x100m relay but not contest the 200m.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I knew how I felt and I was not ready to go.
“I had something left to do, so I focused on the dream and set my sights on the target.”