Sunshine Girls make bright start
GLASGOW, Scotland — Jamaica's Sunshine Girls got off to a bright start with a crushing 88-24 defeat over Caribbean neighbours St Lucia in Group A netball action, sending a strong message as their hunt for glory at the XX Commonwealth Games rolled off here yesterday.
The vastly experienced goal-shooter Jhaniel Fowler top-scored with 32 of 35 attempts, and was ably assisted by Romelda Aiken with 23 goals from 28 attempts, followed by goal-attack Thristina Harwood, who netted 17 from 18 tries. Shanice Beckford bagged 16 from 18.
St Lucia's puny response to the world's fourth-ranked Jamaicans was led unconvincingly by goal-attack Shem Maxwell, who scored 11 from 16 attemts, while goal-shoot Indira Laurencin contributed a meagre nine from 13 attempts.
Jamaica's domination was spread over all quarters -- powering to 23-3 in the first, then 16-11, 28-5 and 21-5.
In other results on the court yesterday, Malawi defeated Northern Ireland 71-50, powerful Australia overcame Wales 63-32, and Trinidad and Tobago clipped Barbados 38-37 in a thriller in another all-Caribbean showdown.
Today, Jamaica hunt win number two against Northern Ireland at 7:00 pm (1:00 pm Jamaica time).
In other games today, New Zealand will tackle Malawi, England vs Wales and Scotland vs St Lucia.
Jamaica's captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock is not getting ahead of herself, preferring to take the philosophic road.
"We are taking every game seriously... taking things day by day. All we want now is to ensure that we deliver in every game and hope for the best," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Not only will Jamaica look to a podium finish, their goal-keeping captain is shooting for the stars.
"Winning is definitely a motivation," she said.
Getting into a gold medal match would mean that Jamaica may very well have to conquer one of the top three in the world -- Australia, New Zealand or England.
But as Aiken-Pinnock puts it, Jamaica could be their own downfall.
"I think Jamaica can only stand in its own way, but I know that if we go out there and deliver based on our ability, no one can stop us," she said with an air of self-assuredness.
With leadership like that, the Sunshine Girls could very well be blinded by another gleam than the one that so gloriously covers the Caribbean.
In some other actions for Jamaica yesterday, the nation's top squash player Chris Binnie made a winning start in the men's singles by blowing away Lesotho's Ntholeng Lechesa 3-0 at the Scotstoun arena.
The Jamaican whipped the African 11-0 in games one and two, then 11-1 in the third exchange.
Binnie's countryman Bruce Burrowes was at the other end of a similar defeat, going down 0-3. In a fighting rendition, he lost 3-11, 5-11 and 9-11 to Scotland's Greg Lobban.
Meanwhile, in table tennis, Jamaica's top-ranked female player Yvonne Foster plunged 0-3 to Canada's Zhang Mo in singles. She lost 11-1, 11-5, 11-6. Another Jamaican, Shenique Clare, went down 3-11, 10-12, 12-14 for a 3-0 blanking.
In the women's table tennis preliminary, Jamaica defeated Papua New Guinea 3-0, Foster returning to figure prominently in those play-offs. But the Jamaica men were not as fortunate, crashing 3-0 to England.
Later on the men rallied to edge Barbados 3-2.
Jamaica's women will return today in team competition against Malaysia, while the men go up against Trinidad and Tobago.
In cycling, Dahlia Palmer finished down the order at 12th place in the women's 500m time trial at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Another Jamaican cyclist Bianca Hernould will compete in the women's 3,000m individual pursuit qualifying event at 11:19 am (5:19 am Jamaica time).
In badminton, Jamaica take on Norfolk Island in mixed teams group play at the Emirates Arena at 2:00 pm (8:00 am Jamaica time).
Today, Jamaica gets cracking in the boxing ring with welterweight Kestan Davis going up against Bangladesh's Mohammed Hossain at the SECC Boxing Ring, but no time for the box-off was available yesterday.
Also, shooter Shaun Barnes will have a crack at targets in the skeets men's qualification at Barry Buddon Shotgun Range at 9:00 am (3:00 am Jamaica time).