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Jamaica end track schedule with relay blast

BY SEAN WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Sunday, August 03, 2014    

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GLASGOW, Scotland — On a wet, grey and blustery evening, Jamaican athletes brought the curtains down on the track and field programme here with three amazing relay runs at Hampden Park, yesterday.

In the men's and women's 4x100m, both teams won gold in Commonwealth Games and world-leading times.

Usain Bolt's blistering anchor leg spurred the Jamaican men to 37.58 seconds to ignite the packed house. He showed little or no sign of his semi-final rust a day before.

And, as usual, the baton got around immaculately with Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade, and finally to Bolt to explode to the line.

England were second in 38.02 and Trinidad and Tobago third in 38.10.

On her way back from injury, the Olympic and World Championships gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was imperious on the final leg. For their games' record and world-leading time of 41.83 seconds, the team completed — by Kerron Stewart, Veronica Campbell Brown and Schillonie Calvert — was awesome in the one-lap blast.

They had equalled the games' record of 42.44 in Friday's semi-final.

Silver in the event went a Nigeria in 42.92, while England took bronze in 43.10.

Jamaica's 4x400m women's team trapped gold, also in a meet record of 3:23.82 minutes.

Last night's show-stopping gold medal treble for Jamaica brings the total to 21 — 10 gold, four silver and seven bronze.

World record holder of the individual sprints and member of Jamaica's team that holds the 4x100m relay record (36.84), Bolt, was captured in unbridled celebration of his first Commonwealth gold medal.

"For me it was good, as it was the only gold medal that was missing from my collection, and my team came out and did well and I got my gold medal, so I am happy," he said.

Bolt has never made it a secret that he is deeply in love with the relays, and it's one of those track events that excites fans like no other can.

"The relays are the best part of a championship for me, as just to compete with teammates (is special)... to compete with your teammates is just a joy," said the multiple Olympic and World Championships gold medallist.

Before the race, Bolt partied with the friendly people of Glasgow and they lapped up every moment of it. After his run, that's when the real Bolt party started. He danced, waved, signed autographs, posed for pictures, fist-bumped kids, donned Scottish garb, but he could not be convinced to wear a kilt (Scottish ceremonious dress resembling a woman's skirt).

But he pretty much did everything else.

"I always come and try to interact with the crowd at every track meet. The crowd here has been fun, really wonderful and I love it here," said Bolt, one of sport's most iconic figures.

Fraser-Pryce, winner of three gold medals in Moscow last year, said competing in the relays brings a special thrill. And on a cool Glasgow night, the victory gave her the chills.

"Running the relays is always a good thing — the adrenaline, the rush. I really enjoy it."

Campbell Brown, Olympic and World Championships gold medallist, and silver medallist in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games, applauded her team for a fantastic race execution, which yielded her first Commonwealth gold.

"It was a great team effort, we came together and we got the baton changes right, and we ran well and we got the championship record.

"In the relays we have to come together (as) unity is key and we will never be successful unless we are united," she noted.

In the men's triple jump final last night, the Jamaican pair of Daniel Lewis and Damon McLean finished way down the pecking order in an event won by South Africa's Khotso Mokoena with a season-best 17.20 metres. Silver went Nigeria's Tosin Oke with an effort of 16.84, also a season best. The bronze medal was won by India's Arpinder Singh in a leap of 16.63.

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