STOCKHOLM, Sweden:If Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is feeling the pressure of defending her world crown, it was not evident as she cruised to victory at the BAHAUS Athletics Diamond League meeting yesterday.She clocked 10.93 seconds (-0.2) in front of a Stockholm crowd that clearly idolises the sprint legend.With the World Championships less than a month away, Fraser-Pryce told The Gleaner: “There’s always pressure going into any meet. I’m defending champion and everybody’s coming, but that’s not something I worry about.”I’m not worried about anything actually! I’m just focused on executing the race and enjoying the championships.”Beijing holds fond memories for the Jamaican. It was in 2008 that a young Fraser-Pryce announced herself to the world by claiming the 100m gold at the Beijing Olympics.LOOKFORWARDTOBEIJING”I’m looking forward to going back to Beijing. In 2008, I had no idea that I would win a medal. Rather, I was going there for the sheer excitement of making an Olympic team.”I was looking forward to seeing all the athletes, and if anything, I was star struck when I got there.”And here I am, years later, going back as the defending world champion.”There is something about the Jamaican, which makes her turn up for the big races. She is a genuine championship performer. Just what is her secret?”I have no idea how I perform so well in major championships,” she said.”When I get to major championships, I’m just very focused and ready to run.”It’s weird, but I think my body has a memory, which remembers when I’m in a big race. So far, I’ve only lost one championship, which was in 2011.”I rely on past experiences and victories. I just seem to get it right at the right time.”The 28-year-old has illuminated the sport over the years with her demeanour and famous smile. Her calm start-line antics go against some of the more serious traits of her competitors, who can barely raise a smile while in the zone.Fraser-Pryce said: “I’ve no pre-race antics. I’m not focused on what anybody else does.”Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot Natasha Morrison, came home third in the 100m in Stockholm. She, too, was happy enough before Beijing.”It was very chilly, and I’m looking forward to Beijing,” said a contented Morrison, who registered 11.22. American Tori Bowie was second in 11.05.In the triple jump, Kimberly Williams took third place behind Caterine Ibarguen, 14.69m, and Olga Rypakova, 14.30m. After an opening effort of 13.89m, she improved to 14.21m with her second leap. Her fifth jump of 14.22m was her best effort.There was no joy either for 800m runner Simoya Campbell.Campbell came home sixth (2:01:57) but is of the view that she can produce in Beijing.”I feel very confident before going to Beijing and feel comfortable in myself. I have been putting in all the work needed.”The event was won by Renelle Lamote (France) in 1:59.91.Rusheen McDonald (45.55) and Edino Steele (46.17) came home sixth and eighth, respectively in the 400m, which was won by Machel Cedenio (Trinidad and Tobago), 44.97.Peter Matthews, 45.79 was content with his second-place finish in the 400m B race.
Judith Moore presents information at an AFACT meeting on Nov. 27, 2018. (Photo courtesy ofDmytro Maloroshvylo.)About half of the people experiencing homeless have mental illnesses or substance misuse disorders and can’t access the behavioral health services they need. It hurts the people who need support and the community in general. Anchorage needs a solution. Those were the key ideas expressed by some of the more than 175 people attending a meeting at Central Lutheran Church in Anchorage on Tuesday evening.The gathering was hosted by Anchorage Faith & Action Congregations Together, or AFACT, and included local government officials. Community members said that providing compassion and charity isn’t enough to solve the problem. The state’s behavioral health system is inadequate, and the municipality, unlike many other cities across the country, does not offer any treatment options.Kathy Freeman, who works at Central Lutheran, said they open their doors to everyone and welcome them in to use the facilities, but sometimes working with people who have mental illnesses and aren’t receiving treatment is hard.“It’s hard to feel welcoming when some of them are experiencing such challenges that they are then using bodily fluids to express their displeasure,” she said. “Or throwing books at the staff, or using words that you’d really rather not hear in a church. And so yes, having access to really great mental health care for folks across the strata would be really, really helpful.”Natasha Gamache joined the line of people making comments and told the gathering that she grew up surrounded by trauma, experienced homelessness as a child and as an adult, and has multiple mental illnesses.“That I’m able to stand here, wait nicely in line, use polite language, so on and so forth — and be a reasonable, productive member of society — is because of adequate mental health care in a really inadequate system,” she said. She worked hard to get all of the services she needed. “And it would be my hope that instead of cutting budgets, that we start thinking of people first. We start putting them first. And we realize that recovery is absolutely possible not only from mental illness but from drug addiction and alcoholism.”Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was present and listening. After community comments, he was asked what his administration plans to do to address the problem. He said he’s committed to having the municipality take the lead and work with others in Anchorage to develop a comprehensive behavioral health system.“I’m not expecting the state to come. I’m not expecting the federal government to come,” he said. “But I am expecting this community to do something about this problem.”But doing that takes money. His solution involves a newly proposed five percent alcohol tax that would be used to fund substance misuse treatment centers, community behavioral health outreach, and supportive housing for people who are homeless. The proposal is before the Anchorage Assembly now and needs 8 votes before it could go on the April municipal ballot.