Olympics-Athletics-Women's 100m prelim heats kick off Tokyo track and field

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Women's 100m - Preliminary Round - OLS - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 30, 2021. Joella Lloyd of Antigua and Barbuda, Asimenye Simwaka of Malawi, Alvin Tehupeiory of Indonesia, Carla Scicluna of Malta, Hanna Barakat of the Palestinian Territories, Mazoon Khalfa Al Alawi of Oman, Aissata Denn Conte of Guinea, Matie Stanley of Tuvalu and Houleye Ba of Mauritania in action REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

TOKYO (Reuters) - The women's 100 metres preliminary heats kicked-off the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games on Friday at a spectator-less Olympic Stadium.

With cloud cover offering athletes some respite from the stifling heat, Congo's Natacha Akamabi Ngoye qualified the fastest for the next round with her season's best time of 11.47 seconds.

She was joined by nine other sprinters in progressing to round one of qualification.

Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will begin her quest to become the first woman to win three Olympic 100m gold medals later in the afternoon.

The 34-year-old, who won gold in Beijing and London, took some time away from the sport to have a baby but arrived in Tokyo on the back of an astonishing 10.63 run and is hot favourite to match compatriot Usain Bolt with a third gold in the blue ribbon event.

She will not have it all her own way, however.

Compatriot and Rio Olympics champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who ran the second fastest time this year (10.71) on her way to defeating Fraser-Pryce in Hungary three weeks ago, will get her title defence underway later on Friday.

Others competing later in the afternoon include Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion, who will be carrying Britain's hopes of a first medal in the women's 100m since 1960.

Another Jamaican, Shericka Jackson, won the 400m bronze medal in Rio but has focused on the shorter sprints this year and is also in contention.

(Reporting by Omar Mohammed; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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