Bailey-Cole, Richards take gold; VCB, Alia win silver
GLASGOW, Scotland — Jamaica announced its presence at the XX Commonwealth Games yesterday, bagging five medals at Hampden Park as track and field action moved into higher gear on day two.
Earlier, swimmer Alia Atkinson won bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the Tollcross Swimming Centre to add to her silver last Friday in 50m breaststroke.
Jamaica's medal tally now stands at seven -- two gold, two silver and three bronze.
After Atkinson's feat, it was across town from the swimming pool that the Jamaican fireworks were being set off in all their glory as shot put star O'Dayne Richards lit up the night with his gold medal performance in a Commonwealth Games and national record of 21.61 metres.
He defeated New Zealand's Tom Walsh (21.19) and Canada's Tim Nedow (20.59), for silver and gold in that order.
Of the two gold medals won on the night, his was perhaps the more intriguing as it was Jamaica's first in the throws at a major tournament.
Dorian Scott, before him, managed a silver medal each in the Commonwealth Games of 2006 and 2010.
That is not to suggest in any way that Kemar Bailey-Cole's season-best 10.00 seconds for victory in the men's 100m was not significant. He beat a powerful field, including countryman Nickel Ashmeade, who won bronze in a time of 10.12.
The silver went to England's Adam Gemili in 10.10.
"My first emotion is that I just couldn't believe it. But I came here to win and I did just that," said the Racers Track Club upcoming star.
His start was not the best, but the 6 foot 4 inches runner had to turn on the jets to pull the field back.
"The first thing I had to do was power through when I saw everybody leaving and I just kept my composure and just built on it," said Bailey-Coley, the Olympic relay gold medalist.
Ashmeade, who is nursing a slight injury, was happy that he made the medal podium.
"I am pleased, but I wanted better. But it was a good performance," he said. "I have had a niggling injury for the past couple of weeks, but I tried to go through each round and try to conserve energy and it paid off in the end with a bronze medal."
In the women's 100m equivalent, Veronica Campbell Brown could not keep up with the long legs of Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, who ran a games record of 10.85 seconds, erasing Bahamas' Debbie Ferguson's mark of 10.91.
Campbell Brown, on the rebound, settled for another silver in 11.03. The Jamaican sprint queen has two other silver medals at this level.
Kerron Stewart, working her way back to full fitness and who offered that she was a tad under the weather, was third in 11:07, a season-best performance.
"The result won't show that I was sick, it will only show the time and how I finished, but I am just happy to come out here and pull it off... I am happy with any colour medal (because) for me, it is a blessing, and this shows that I am coming back slowly but surely, and to be on the podium is a good thing for me," said Stewart.
Another Jamaican in the race, Schillonie Calvert, was fifth in 11.21.
Jamaica's 400m women were imperious in the semi-finals, winning all their races impressively, showing hints of great things to come in today's final.
Stephanie McPherson was the fastest qualifier, posting 50.69, followed by the seasoned Novlene Williams-Mills, who clocked 50.73. Christine Day won her event in 51.02.
In women's triple jump qualification, Kimberly Williams progressed atop the field with 13.94m (wind -02).
"I did enough to qualify... I am pretty confident and trust my talent and I'll always try to do my best as always," she said.
Yesterday as well, Jamaica's netballers made it four wins from as many starts when they defeated a spirited Malawi 81-50 at the SECC.
Other track and field events down to be contested today are the men's long jump, women's heptathlon, men's 100m hurdles first round, women's 400m hurdles, men's 800m, and men's 400m semi-finals.