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Brain training turns Fraser-Pryce into double champion

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica runs ahead of Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast (L) to win the women's 200 metres final during the IAAF
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica runs ahead of Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast (L) to win the women's 200 metres final during the IAAF

By Mitch Phillips

MOSCOW (Reuters) - With Olympic and world championship 100 meters golds to her name Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce knew she had fast legs but to make the move up to 200m the Jamaican said she had to train her mind, as well as her body.

The change of focus began to show progress when she took silver in the longer sprint at last year's Olympics, having added a second 100m title to her Beijing breakthrough, and paid a full dividend on Friday when she won the 200m world title having won the 100m earlier in the week,

With Olympic champion Allyson Felix pulling up early with a hamstring tear, Fraser-Pryce stormed clear to win in 22.17 seconds and become the first woman since Katrin Krabbe in 1991 to win the world sprint double. American Kelli White did win both races in 2003 but was retrospectively disqualified for doping.

For someone who said three years ago that she hated the longer sprint, it was a remarkable turnaround.

"Three seasons ago I had to change my mindset for the 200 and make it more like the 100," she told a news conference.

"It's still hard to totally embrace it the way I do the 100 and I do it because it makes my 100 faster but I decided I would try to do it properly.

"So I've worked harder and harder on it and worked more on my 200 this year than the 100 and have had to develop the same love for both."

Last year, having been edged by American Felix in the Olympic final, Fraser-Pryce went away from London determined to learn lessons from defeat.

Some of them were about preparation and recovery but the most important work was done above the neck.

"It is very hard mentally to refocus after the 100," she said. "In London I wasn't getting sleep and I couldn't get my mind completely settled and I learned from that.

"So once I came here and won the 100 I told myself 'your job is not over. You have to get in the same mode as you were for the 100'.

"And I've been able to do that. It helped that there was an extra two days of rest here so I did a bit of jogging and just sort of checked that there was no pain and it all made a difference."

Ivory Coast's Murielle Ahoure, second in the 100m, took silver again in 22.32, beating Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare by sixth thousandths of a second.

Felix suffered a torn hamstring and had to be carried from the track by her brother Wes but Fraser-Pryce said she only realized late in the race that her chief rival must have pulled up.

"I heard somebody scream but it was only when I was on the straight and was expecting her to come up that I realized it must have been Allyson," she said.

"It's very unfortunate for her and I really hope she comes back soon."

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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