All the best to our teams in Birmingham and Cali
Members of Jamaica’s delegation proudly parade with their nation’s flag during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium inBirmingham, central England, on Thursday. The games officially start today.

THE memorable exploits of our athletes in Eugene, Oregon, USA are less than a week old but Jamaicans are already turning their attention to other global events: the Commonwealth Games which opened in Birmingham, England, on Thursday; and the World Athletics Under-20 Championships which begin on Monday in Cali, Colombia.

A number of the young athletes now in Cali also excelled at last year's World Junior Championships in Kenya and yet again, much will be expected of them as Jamaicans look forward eagerly to their further development as adult professionals.

In Birmingham, all eyes will be on the adults.

Jamaicans have a long, celebrated history with regards to the Commonwealth Games, which is among the great global, multi-sporting competitions and is held every four years. Jamaica's participation dates back to 1934 (pre-World War II) when the games were called the British Empire Games.

Commonwealth countries are, of course, former colonies of the British Empire on which the sun effectively set in the 1950s and 60s. Jamaicans, we dare not forget, will be celebrating our Independence from Britain a week from now, August 6.

As is the case with other major global events such as the Olympics and World Championships, track athletics has — by a long distance — reaped most success for Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games down the years.

Much the same will be expected this time around.

Yet, the records show that back in 1934 Jamaica's only two medals came from non-track events. Mr Winston McCatty won silver in swimming while Mr Bernhar Prendergast earned a bronze medal in the discus throw.

Jamaica's glory days in track at the Commonwealth Games began in 1954 with Mr Keith Gardner winning the country's only medal — gold in the 120 yards.

Boxing is among the non-track and field events in which Jamaicans have done extremely well at the Commonwealth Games. At Perth, Australia, in 1962, Jamaica's year of Independence, Mr Cephas Colquhon, a middleweight, won the gold medal.

Many people still around will remember 1978 in Edmonton, Canada, when Mr Michael McCallum — a welterweight who would become Jamaica's most celebrated professional boxer — took the gold medal. Back in 78 Mr McCallum and the legendary sprinter Mr Donald Quarrie were the only Jamaican Commonwealth Games gold medallists.

In more recent times, Jamaica's netballers have been much to the fore. Among their successes is the bronze medal in Australia four years ago.

Ahead of the track and field schedule, Jamaicans will be paying close attention to our netballers, the Sunshine Girls, who opened their campaign against Wales on Friday with a 72-43 win.

We admire the ambition of top shooter Ms Jhaniele Fowler who has her sights set on the gold medal game. That's a tough ask, given the traditional strength of Australia and New Zealand.

Says Ms Fowler: "I'm really looking forward to this competition because I think that we have learned so much in preparing, not only on the court but off the court ... The last Commonwealth Games we got the bronze medal so we're looking forward to doing better than that this time around. We're looking forward to making it to the final for this one."

We wish all our representatives in Birmingham and Cali all that's good.

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