Jamaicans bag two gold, one silver in athletics at USA Games
ORLANDO, United States — Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) continued to sizzle in athletics at the USA Games, winning two gold and a silver medal on Thursday.
Richard Smikle and Dantasia Fisher completed victories in their division of the respective men’s and women’s 100m at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, while Rochelle Douglas claimed silver in another 100m race.
There was heartbreak for Allan Gordon when he was disqualified after crossing the line first in his 800m race.
Smikle, who calls himself Bolt and does bear passing resemblance to his great compatriot Usain Bolt on account of his towering frame and high-knee running style, powered to victory in Division M10 of the 100m dash in 11.90 seconds.
Smikle finished ahead of William Gaddis of North Carolina (12.15), Cameron Brown of Texas (12.22) and Annson Forde (12.46) of Guyana.
“Richard is a competitor; the faster his competitors run, the faster he will run,” said athletics Coach Akeem Clarke.
“Before he left Jamaica he had stated he would get the gold for us, and he has done it,” he continued.
Fisher won Jamaica’s second gold on the track when she clocked 15.39 seconds in Division F13 of the 100m. Sulynnette Vega-Ledesma of Alaska (15.51) was second, while Laranda Robinson of Ohio (15.55) was third.
“When you talk about determination and a willing mentality, that is her, because she will not back down from an assignment. Dantasia is one of the first-timers and she has made us proud,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer.
Douglas was second in Division F11 of the 100m in 16.60 behind Danielle Mola of Connecticut (15.55). Samantha Wester of Northern California (16.76) was third.
“That was her best run, and at the end of it she indicated she felt good about putting out her best to carry home the silver,” the Jamaica athletics coach noted.
Gordon was penalised after officials ruled that he had cut over into the inside lanes a bit too early, which gave him an edge over his competitors.
“It was a big run, but Allan, he left it all on the track. He was disheartened by the disqualification, but members of the team have spoken to him to help lift his spirit,” said Clarke.
Sheneel Williams missed out on a medal when she placed fourth in Division F04 of the women’s 800m. She ran 3:12.23 minutes to finish behind Gretchen Winter of Alaska (2:40.41), Sarah Kovacs of Southern California (2:57.08), and Jasmine Slama of Utah (3:07.18).
The Jamaicans are set to close out on the track on Friday with both the mixed 4×100 relay and the 200m finals.
Before Thursday, SOJ athletes had won two medals on the track. Gordon and teammate Sheneel Williams won silver in their respective men’s and women’s 400m events on Tuesday.
— Sanjay Myers