Sunshine Girls secure key win over South Africa
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls do a celebratory dance after defeating South Africa at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on Saturday. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

BIRMINGHAM, England — Jamaica's Sunshine Girls continued their strong start at the Commonwealth Games with a determined 68-49 win over South Africa to virtually secure a top-two finish in Pool A, with straightforward games against Barbados and Scotland preceding Thursday's almighty clash against top-ranked Australia for group honours.

Captain Jhaniele Fowler was, as expected, the chief destroyer, returning a 100 per cent shooting record, scoring 33 goals from 33 attempts as the Jamaicans followed up on Friday's 29-point win over Wales with another big win in front of an appreciative crowd at the NEC Arena.

Netball Jamaica President Tricia Robinson credited the team for the level of play being displayed and was pleased with their approach to the contest. She, however, warned against complacency and reiterated that the fourth-ranked Jamaicans are determined to get on the podium in Birmingham and improve on their third-place finish at the 2018 Games in Australia.

"The team is very focused at this time, but we are taking it one game at a time and will not be underestimating anyone. The intention is to better our placement from the last Commonwealth Games. We have been having a good weekend and we are all really proud of the team," Robinson told the Jamaica Observer.

Shanice Beckford was impressive in the goal attack role, scoring 15 goals from 18 attempts, putting in a shift with 53 minutes on the court. Centre Nicole Dixon-Rochester continued her busy-bodied showings, logging 15 assists and two interceptions, while Shimona Sterling offered 14 goals from 14 attempts in the Sunshine Girls' impressive all-round performance.

Weightlifter Sky Simone – Leah Norris finished an impressive sixth in the women's 55kg final, making her final lift at 78kg in the snatch and 92kg in the clean and jerk for a final tally of 170.

The event was won by Nigeria's Adijat Olarinoye, who lifted a games record 203kg after lifting a games record 92kg in the snatch and 111kg in the clean and jerk. Silver went to India's Bindyarani Sorokhaibam (86kg/116kg/102kg) with England's Fraer Morrow, (89kg/109kg/198kg) taking the bronze medal.

Eighteen-year-old swimmer Mackenzie Headley progressed to the semi-finals of the women's 50m freestyle yesterday at Sandwell Aquatics Centre, finishing eighth with a time of 25.97 seconds. She had earlier secured her lane in the evening session with a sixth-place finish in the heats in a near-identical time of 25.95 seconds.

Zaneta Alvaranga matched her best time in the 50m freestyle, clocking 26.49 seconds in her heat for a seventh-place finish in another solid showing, while Kito Campbell was second in his men's 100m breaststroke heat in a time of 1:05.04.

Kelsie Leigh Campbell was eighth in the women's 50m freestyle in a time of 27.03 seconds.

The mixed doubles team of Joel Angus and Katherine Wynter fell 22-24, 14-21 to Zambia's Chongo Mulenga and Ogar Siamupangila, but the Jamaican badminton team rallied strongly in their mixed team event group play contest at the NEC, dominating the Africans 4-1.

Samuel Ricketts (21-15, 21-16) and Tahlia Richardson (21-6, 21-13) got the better of Kalombo Mulenga and Elizabeth Chipeleme respectively in the men's and women's singles before pairing up with Angus and Wynter in the doubles games to secure the victory.

In the men's doubles, Angus and Ricketts held their nerves to beat Chongo and Kalombo Mulenga 21-17, 21-19, and the Jamaicans bounced back from their 3-2 loss to South Africa on Friday.

In squash Chris Binnie also enjoyed a good day after progressing to the round of 16 after a walkover was claimed over his Indian opponent Ramit Tandon at the University of Birmingham's squash courts.

Binnie will today face off against England's Adrian Waller at 12:45 pm (6:45 am Jamaica time). Waller is ranked 26 in the world.

Gymnast Danyella Richards is a reserve for the final after finishing 24th among 30 competitors with a total score of 43.6000. She tallied 12.300 on the vault; 9.900 on the uneven bars; 10.250 on the balance beam; and 11.150 on the floor exercise.

It was another rough day for the Rugby Sevens team that went down 40-0 to Uganda and 45-7 to England at Coventry Stadium.

In lawn bowls men's pairs action at Victoria Park, Mervyn Edwards and Robert Simpson fell 33-8 to the Welsh team of Daniel Salmon and Jarrod Breen, with the cyclists also finding things tough at the Lee Valley Velopark in London.

In women's sprint qualifying, Dahlia Palmer finished 21st among 26 riders and missed out on progression.

In the first round of the men's keirin, Malik Reid, Daniel Palmer, and Zoe Boyd all failed to advance.

ANDRE LOWE

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