JA mine 4 more medals

Women strike gold, silver; men bronze in sprint, quarter-mile relays

From Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Sunday, April 15, 2018

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Gold Coast, Australia — Jamaica won four relay medals on the penultimate day of the 21st staging of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia yesterday.

The women struck gold in the 4x400m relay and silver in the 4x100m relay, while the men took bronze in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

The first team on the track was the men's 4x100m quartet of Everton Clarke, Oshane Bailey, Warren Weir and Yohan Blake. The highly charged atmosphere inside the Carrara Stadium made for an electric final which was won by England, ahead of South Africa and Jamaica in third.

Zharnel Hughes made up for his personal error in the 200m final Thursday night with a brilliant second-leg performance that put his team ahead. Harry Aiknes-Aryeetey, who anchored England, was able to the resist the fast-finishing Akani Simbine of South Africa, who blew past Yohan Blake to secure silver for his country.

A poor exchange on the first handover cost the women the gold medal in the 4x100m final. Opening leg runner Christania Williams got Jamaica off to a good start, but a less than ordinary exchange between herself and Natasha Morrison undid the good work she had done and created a gap between them and the rest of the field.

Morrison dug deep to make up some of the deficit, which was followed by a brilliant curve run by the 100m bronze medal winner Gayon Evans. She handed over to double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, who had a storming finish on anchor for Jamaica.

Thompson fought valiantly but was unable to catch Lorraine Ugen, who held on for the win as England struck gold in a new national record time of 42.46 seconds to complement the efforts of their men. Amazingly, England won both sprint relay gold medals.

The women's 4x400m team of Christine Day, Anastasia Le-Roy, Janieve Russell and Stephenie-Ann McPherson then continued the trend of at least one gold medal a day for Jamaica — since Tuesday — when they annihilated the field on the way to winning the final female event in track and field.

Day, who was having her first run for the games, got the team off to a good start, running out of lane eight. With no one in front of her, she was forced to go hard on her own to give Jamaica a lead, which she did based on the stagger. Le-Roy then consolidated the lead in the first 150m before moving away from the field as she gave Russell a five-metre lead on the field at handover.

With the confidence gained following her win in the 400m hurdles final, Russell strode majestically down the backstretch before exploding on the turn for home to gift McPherson a lead of at least 10m on the rest of the field. It was over and done when the Jamaican anchor leg runner received the baton, and all McPherson had to do was bring the stick around safely to give Jamaica what turned out to be their only relay gold medal of the Games.

The men were unable to follow the lead of the women in the 4x400m final and eventually finished third. Jermaine Gayle put in a solid first leg before handing over to Demish Gaye, who probably should have gone a little faster on the backstretch. While Gaye tried to close the gap coming home, Jamar Rose on the third leg had to go out hard to catch up with the leaders Trinidad and Tobago and second-placed Botswana. Rose got to the front on the backstretch but was unable maintain the lead coming home.

Five countries were in the mix at the start of the final leg — Kenya, Trinidad, Botswana, The Bahamas and Jamaica — with Javon Francis at the back of the lead group. There was a mad dash for the finish line with Francis passing the athletes from Trinidad then Kenya, but he was just unable to reel in the Bahamas' anchor leg runner as they held on for the silver medal. Botswana, who had Isaac Makwala on anchor, took the gold.

The women suffered heartbreak in the semi-finals of the netball competition when they went down 55-56 to England. Both teams were evenly matched, which was reflected in the first-quarter score, as they were locked at 15-15 at the end of the first 15 minutes.

Jamaica took the ascendancy in the second quarter, winning it 18-12 for a six-point half-time lead at 33-27.

England came storming back in the third quarter, which they won 16-14 to cut the deficit to four goals with one quarter left to play. The scores going into the final quarter read, 47-43.

A nightmarish fourth quarter saw Jamaica commit way too many turnovers as they were held to just eight goals by the English defenders. England were able to score 13 goals of their own to edge their way into Sunday's goal medal game.

Jamaica will face New Zealand in the bronze medal match after the hosts Australia won the second semi-final 65-44.

In Rugby Sevens, Jamaica lost all three games played but gave a good account of themselves nonetheless. They lost 38-5 to England in their first game in the morning. They were marginally better in the second game against Australia, going down 32-5. Their final game was against Samoa, which ended 36-7 at the end of a long and rugged day. Significantly, they were able to score a try against three powerhouses in the sport.

In wrestling, Kevin Wallen defeated Rashji Mackey of the Bahamas in the freestyle 86kg round of 16 before losing to Alexander Moore of Canada in the quarter-final round.

With 26 medals garnered so far, Jamaica will be hoping that the Sunshine Girls defeat New Zealand in the bronze medal match to take the final tally to 27 overall.

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