Track stars reign on opening day at Hampden Park
GLASGOW, Scotland — The skies over Glasgow suddenly turned grey and the rains came sprinkling yesterday, replacing the warmth and sunshine that bathed this city since the start of these Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
As was expected, the British weather finally showed its true schizophrenic nature. Temperatures had dropped to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, aided by an annoying wind.
But, in the face of this dreary turnaround, Hampden Park was set alight by Jamaica's track and field stars on the first day of athletics competition as they gave hints of what is to possibly come in the days ahead.
All Jamaicans were winners of their heats in both the men's and women's 100m. And the 400m preliminaries for women were no different.
All advanced to today's semi-finals with little fuss.
Kemar Bailey-Cole, with his towering frame, started the flurry of Jamaican wins in heat one when he cruised to 10.16 seconds. Barbados' Ramon Gittens was second in 10.34, while Canada's Jared Neal Connaughton was third in 10.47.
Jason Livermore, in heat two, strolled to 10.26, followed by St Kitts and Nevis' Jason Rogers (10.39) and Ghana's Timothy Abeyie (10.50).
Nickel Ashmeade, Moscow World Championships relay gold medallist, turned down the jets early in heat five for a modest 10.40. Second went Guyana's Adam Harris (10:45) and The Bahamas's Adrian Griffith was third in 10.46.
The mellowing Veronica Campbell Brown, on a comeback after a prolonged absence due to a doping suspension, looked relaxed in her stroll of 11.29 in heat one. Second was Nigeria's Gloria Asumnu in 11.43. Third went to Jade Bailey of Barbados (11.64).
Campbell Brown, one of the nation's most decorated female athletes, is relishing to being back in top-level competition.
"I am feeling good, thanks be to God. God is my guide and God is who I trust. You know how life is, there are always obstacles, but the key is to bounce back and I am just happy to be here with team Jamaica, and I just hope that all of us will do very well," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Having two Commonwealth Games silver medals under her belt, Campbell Brown would love to add another.
"It would be nice (to win another medal), but I just have to keep working and see what happens," she said.
Schillonie Calvert, celebrating her 26th birthday, treated herself to an evening romp, effortlessly winning her heat in 11.29, beating The Bahamas's Shenique Ferguson (11.60) and Canada's Crystal Emmanuel (11.64).
Kerron Stewart, the Olympic 100m silver medallist, was in cruise control to the line, posting 11.35, trailed by England's Bianca Williams (11.37), and Canada's Shai-Anne Davis (11.72).
But it was Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare who posted the fastest time going into the semis when she galloped to 11.20 in heat five. England's Asha Philip was second way back in 11.47, with Cyprus' Anna Ramona Papaaiqannou in third with 11.67.
In the women's 400m, Christine Day, in heat two, ran 52.52 seconds to win with second going to Shauneae Miller (52.34) and third place copped by Kelly Massey (52.34) of England.
Stephanie McPherson, who topped heat four, also ran 52.52. She was followed by Omolara Omotosho of Nigeria, who clocked 53.02. Trinidad and Tobago's Dominieq Williams was third in 54.43.
Veteran campaigner Novlene Williams-Mills looked inspired to win by a comfortable margin in 52.39. Second went to England's Margaret Adeoye (53.98), while Morgan Mitchell of Australia copped third in 54.28.
Shot putters O'Dayne Richards qualified to the final with the second best mark of 20.03 metres. His countryman Raymond Brown scraped through with 18.11 metres.
Bowing into action today will be Daryll Garwood in the men's high jump qualification. Also the men's 400m heats will see Akheem Gauntlet, Rusheen McDonald and Hugh Graham Jnr attempting to repeat the successes of their female counterparts so far.