Ayanna Alexander leaped onto the podium in Glasgow, Scotland yesterday, to lift T&T’s first precious metal of the Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal in the women’s triple jump on a cold night at the Hampden Park Stadium. Alexander was overjoyed at winning T&T’s first medal saying, “I hope it sets the stage for other medals to come. I had no idea I was really focused on my event. First final, first medal, I’m a woman in the field events so hopefully that says something, people will start listening and paying attention.”
Her fourth attempt of 14.01 metres brought her success, putting her behind eventual winner Jamaican Kimberly Williams (14.11) and silver medallist Englishwomen Laura Samuel (14.09), respectively. Alexander, returning from an injury which left her immobile some time before the games, jumped 13.54 in the first round, returning in the next round to reach 13.75. By the third try, she hit the 13.99 mark as she chased the leaders. The next attempt she faltered somewhat dropping to 13.53 but the fourth attempt, produced the winning jump. “Four months ago, I couldn’t walk. I have been bouncing back from an ankle injury. I wasn’t too disturbed by my performance at senior champs because I knew what the issue was so the plan was to come back here and come stronger,” said the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist.
T&T quartermilers Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow and Lalonde Gordon created history when all three entries advanced to the final of the 400m final. Six of the eight finalists are from the Caribbean including 400m specialist Kirani James (43.74) of Grenada, Bahamians Chris Brown (45.55) and Latoy Williams, South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk (45.41) and Englishman Martyn Rooney (45.03). In the opening heat, Solomon (45.49) made a late sprint to catch Brown just before the line to take second spot behind Rooney. “I executed my race good. I executed the way I wanted to. I came off the turn in first and that is what I wanted to do. I said I was going to run to 300 and hold on and I was able to do that,” said Solomon.
Quow too came from behind to get in as one of the fastest losers, trailing James and Van Niekerk in the second heat while Gordon make a late charge to top heat three in 45.37. Knowing that all three local runners made the finals, Gordon said, “This is a first time. Hopefully we all come out with something.” Today, the local trio will line up at 3.30 pm (T&T time) for the medal race.
Tonya Nero was also in action late yesterday, competing in the 10,000m final. She ran a season best 35:48.63 to place 12th. The morning session was uneventful with none of T&T’s athletes progressing out of their respective events.
Kyron Blaise failed to set a mark in the men’s long jump, recording fouls in each of his three attempts. Back on the track, a poor executed run by Mikel Thomas saw him exit the men’s 110m hurdles in the heats. Thomas clipped five of the nine hurdles, to still come in fourth in 13.86 but he just short by .15 seconds of the last qualifier. Durell Busby and Wayne Davis pulled out of the events. It got even worse when Josanne Lucas’ race was over before it even started. She false started in the women’s 400m hurdles and was disqualified. The other local competitor in that event, Janiel Bellille placed fourth in her heat in 57.51, not good enough to advance. Next to go out were Jamaal James and Kendis Bullard in the 800m. James finished fourth in his heat in 1:51.62 while the latter placed sixth in 1:51.57, to be eliminated.
Top local swimmer George Bovell clocked 22.31 to place fifth in the final of 50m freestyle event. Copping gold was Brendon Proud (21.92) of England while Australians Cameron McEnvoy and James Magnussen, who won 100m freestyle silver and gold, respectively, was second third.
Kwandwane Brown scored a hattrick and helped T&T’s hockey men’s team claim its first victory ever at a Commonwealth games, beating Malaysia 4-2 in its final preliminary match.
It was Mickell Pierre opening the scoring for the local team as early as the eighth minute. Brown followed up four minutes later to give T&T a 2-0 advantage, returning only two minutes later to push the local stickmen further ahead, 3-0. Malaysia managed to pull one back in the 25th minute thanks to Norhizzat Sumantri. T&T was heading into the half with a 3-1 lead when Brown slipped one past the keeper Hafizuddin Muhammad Othman, to put the local hockey team up 4-1. In the second half, the Malaysians stepped its defense and held the T&T attack at bay. They were able to pull one back just before time expired through Ramada Muhamad Rosli in the 70th.
T&T netballers suffered another huge loss in their final preliminary match, going under to England 70-24. Again the “Calypso Girls” were plagued by too many turnovers and not enough chances at the goal. Shooting for T&T were Kalifa McCollin (4/6), Joelisa Cooper (13/16) and Anastascia Wilson (7/11).
Michael Alexander defeated Cobia Breedy of Barbados in the quarterfinals of the men’s lightweight (60k) event at the SECC. He now advances to the semifinals to meet Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick on Friday.
It was a busy day for T&T’s tennis players with the start of the men’s and women’s singles competitions. Dexter St Louis beat Nickson Otieno Abaka of Kenya, 11-4, 11-1, 11-3, 11-6 in his opening match, returning later to top Barbadian Kevin Farley, 18-16, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8. Aaron Wilson also got wins in his two matches against Daniel O’Connell of Wales (11-1, 12-10, 13-11, 11-7) and Pakistani Tabish Khurshid (11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9). Curtis Humphreys also scored two straight victories against Issa Masoud Mtalaso of Tanzania (11-5, 11-4) and Nicholas Esther of Seychelles, 11-8, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8. Rheann Chung got the better of Neema Dennis Mwaisyula (Tanzania), 11-5, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 and Kaimalie Resture (Tuvalu), 11-3, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 while Ashley Quashie suffered loses to Agnes Wiron Nodoki (Tanzania), 11-6, 7-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-5 and Ganiat Ogundele (Nigeria), 11-1, 11-6, 11-6, 11-2, respectively
Aleena Edwards also had a successful start defeating Kelsey Ke Maistre of Jersey, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 and Bajan Krystle Harvey, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8.
Team competitions began yesterday with local players participating in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. Colin Ramasra and Kale Wilson lost to Scotland’s Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch, 11-3, 11-4 in group play stage in the men’s doubles. In the mixed doubles, Ramasra partnered with Kerrie Sample and lost their opening to England’s Daryl Selby and Sarah Kippax, 11-1, 11-4 in Pool D while Wilson and Charlotte Knaggs, playing Pool F fell to another English duo Peter Barker and Alison Waters, 11-0, 11-2.
Shooters Roger Daniel and Rhodney Allan withdrew from the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. Michael Perez (373-21 points) and Norris Gomes (344-21) placed 26th and 33rd in the Queen’s Prize Individual event.