Sport

The quest begins

Jamaica bow into action with 7 disciplines

By Sean Williams

Thursday, July 24, 2014    

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GLASGOW, Scotland — Jamaica will launch its bid for more sporting glory when its talented athletes announce themselves at the XX Commonwealth Games here today.

They will see action, not at Hampden Park where thousands wait with bated breath for the defining track and field party of the multi-sport festival, but in swimming, netball, table tennis, squash, triathlon, cycling and badminton.

They may not be as glamorous as track and field, but indeed the dream is the same of winning medals and the spirit of competition just as intense.

And Sunday's start to the track and field action can't come too soon with Jamaica's electrifying track stars set to shine, a constellation led by the monumental Usain Bolt himself.

Like it or not, those itching for a taste of the blazing track must wait. For now, the Jamaican medal rush starts with the nation's other stars, and on them, the world will feast their eyes as the Games go into athletic first gear.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, a real medal prospect and who sit fourth in the world rankings, will kickstart their quest for whatever shade of the Commonwealth Games currency that may await them against Caribbean neighbours St Lucia at the SECC netball court. Match time is 7:00 pm (1:00 pm Jamaica time).

And with a strong line-up, including siblings Romelda and Nicole Aiken, Nadine Bryan, Jhaniel Fowler and the budding Thristina Harwood, it's hard to see Jamaica not over-running the St Lucians.

And technical director, Australian Jill McIntosh, is happy with the condition of the girls coming into the competition.

"I think we are ready and we are taking all opponents seriously. And yes, I believe we are in with a chance to medal, though it's going to be tough," she said.

Jamaica finished out of the medals at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, four years ago and will want to improve on that.

"The girls are focused and I expect us to give a good show," said Netball Jamaica President Marva Bernard.

Jamaica, with their tails in the air after winning Division Five of the World Team Championship recently, will want to make a winning start in table tennis.

They face Canada and Papua New Guinea in the women's team preliminary, then the men's team takes on England and Barbados at the Scotstoun Campus.

Team manager David Miller said the team is at a high level of preparation going into the fixtures.

"We are well prepared since starting our preparation in February... since we got here (Scotland) we have trained three or four hours a day, we have had good gym training also, so we should do well," he told the Jamaica Observer.

He expects Kane Watson and Simon Tomlinson to lead the men's battle, while many-time national champion Yvonne Foster will lead a female three-prong attack, which includes Shenique Clare and 13-year-old Dadrian Lewis.

Miller, however, said there would be a lot of positives to take away should his charges' coffers remain bare at the end of the championship.

"Whatever happens we will just be hoping that we would have shown that Jamaica's table tennis is back in the limelight," said Miller.

Jamaica's lone triathlete Elisabeth Mondon will also bow into action in a one-off final at the Strathclyde Triathlon Course at 11:00 am (5:00 am Jamaica).

"I am very satisfied with her preparation as she won her last event in Trinidad... but this is a different level, as she will be going up against the best in the world," noted coach Leroy Cooke.

Jamaica will also see action in cycling as Dahlia Palmer competes in the women's time trial at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at 4:42 pm (10:42 am Jamaica time).

In squash, Jamaica's Chris Binnie goes up against Lesotho's Ntholeng Lechesa in the men's round of 64 singles, while Bruce Burrowes engages Greg Lobban of Scotland.

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