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Gold, silver for relay teams at Commonwealth Games
Team Trinidad and Tobago Kyle Greaux, from left, Kion Benjamin, Eric Harrison Jr and Jerod Elcock pose on the podium after winning the silver medal in the Men's 4 x 100m relay during the athletics competition in the Alexander Stadium at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, yesterday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Gold, silver for relay teams at Commonwealth Games

Go Back : Guardian : WALTER ALIBEY : 08.08.2022

It was a day of continued good performances and more medals for T&T at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England on Sunday that led to a gold and a silver medal, as well as a missed chance in the javelin. Ê

Jereem Richards returned to the tracks to help guide the T&T 4x400 metres relay team to the gold medal in the final while the country's 4x100m relay team went faster than they did in the qualifiers the day before, to secure the silver medal.

Only a day after Richards sprinted to a new Games record for the gold medal in the 200m final on Saturday, the 28-year-old came back to boost the 4x4 relay team and it worked in stylish fashion.

Richards, the anchor, had only to sprint past the finish line in a quick time of 3:01.29, after Dwight St Hillaire was out of the blocks in a flash and opened up a decent lead from Asa Guevara on the second leg.

It was a day when all runners worked together in unison. Guevara continued the advantage he received and maintained it to Machel Cedenio, who accustomed to being pressured on the third leg, staved off the challenges to hand over to Richards to carry it home.

After the race, Richards and his teammates immediately paid tribute to Deon Lendore, another T&T 400-metre runner who died in a vehicular accident in January.

"Deon would have been proud of this 4x400 team to see where we came from to where we are now, Commonwealth Games champions, so that's something we will be proud about and I am really proud of this team for the execution.

"Today the plan was just to put me on the last leg to see how well I can finish. Everyone did their job exceptionally, Asa might as well take me off the second leg with that leg he put down there today.

"Dwight did his job by giving us a lead from the start, Asa extended that lead and Machel did well by opening up on that lead for me so. When I got the baton it had no wrong for me to do, just to finish strong," Richards said.

Botswana's team of Leungo Scotch, Zibane Ngozi, Anthony Pesela and Bayapo Ndori took the runner-up silver medal in 3:01.85 while Kenya's foursome of (Wiseman Were Mukhobe, Mike Mokamba Nyangau, William Rayian and Boniface Ontunga Mweresa) secured the bronze in a new season's best time of 3:02.41.

Earlier yesterday, a rendition of the national anthem on the steelpan was well received upon a request by Richards, which proved to be an inspiration for the country's 4x100 metres men, who produced another season's best time of 38.70 for the silver medal in the final yesterday morning (TT time).

Only the day before, the team of Jerod Elcock, Eric Harrison Jr, Kion Benjamin and Akani Hislop, sprinted to a season's best (sb) 38.84 for the second-place finish in heat one for an automatic place in yesterday's final, but before the start yesterday, Kyle Greaux, a 200m finalist at the 2019 World Championships, came in as a replacement for Hislop on the final leg and it worked to telling effect, as the quartet recorded a new season's best time.

Elcock, as he did in the preliminary heats, again led off the T&T team and Greaux brought home the baton, but they had to settle for the silver medal, just behind England's winning team of Jona Efoloko, Zharnel Hughes, who also came in as a replacement for Harry Aikines-Aryeetey on the second leg, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Ojie Edoburun which turned in a new season's best time of 38.35 for the gold medal, proving to be unstoppable on the day.

The day before the English delivered a time of 38.48 sb, but with Hughes in the team, he pushed them to new heights. Meanwhile, Nigeria's foursome of Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike, Favour Oghene Tejiri Ashe, Alaba Olukunle Akintola and Raymond Ekevwo sped past the finish in 38.81 seconds to seal the third-place finish and bronze medal in the final.

Fourth went to regional neighbours Guyana (Akeem Stewart, Emmanuel Archibald, Arinze Chance and Boelex Holder) handing in a time of 40.05, fifth St Lucia (Michael Joseph, Delan Edwin, Lenyn Kish Leonce and Stephan Charles) 40.17, sixth Gambia (Sengan Jobe, Alieu Joof, Ebrahima Camara and Adama Jammeh) in 40.18 while seventh was Singapore's quartet of Marc Brian Louis, Joshua Hanwei Chua, Xander Ann Heng Ho and Ian Koe in 40.24. Kenya's team of (Samwel Bitonyake Imeta, Dan Kiviasi Asamba, Mike Mokamba Nyangau and Ferdinand Omanyala) did not finish the race.

The country's women's team of Khalifa St Fort, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Mauricia Prieto and Leah Bertrand on the other hand was not as fortunate in the sprint relays, they finished in the sixth position in 43.86, clocking a much slower time than they did before in heat two of the preliminaries (43.48).

Nigeria's team of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha sealed the win and the resulting gold medal in a personal best time of 42.10, with England (Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Bianca Williams and Daryll Neita) in a season's best 42.41 for the silver medal.

Jamaica, on the other hand, added the double gold medallist for the 100 and 200 metres Elaine Thompson-Herah to their team of (Kemba Nelson, Natalliah Whyte and Remona Burchell) for the bronze medal in 43.08.Ê

Walcott 4th in men's javelin

Meanwhile, Keshorn Walcott failed to produce the goods in the final, as his best throw of 82.61 which came on his first attempt, proved insufficient to stop the eventual winner Arshad Nadeem from Pakistan from clinching the gold medal with a new games record and personal best throw of 90.18 metres.

From his six attempts, Walcott, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, failed to build on his first throw, delivering an 80.70 on his second, 79.22 on his third and fourth attempts, and 82.33 on his fifth. And any effort at a redemption on his final throw, fell flat as he fouled that attempt.

Following the Pakistani on the podium was Grenadian Anderson Peters, who released the rod a distance of 88.64 for the silver medal, while Kenya's season's best 85.70 earned him the bronze medal.

Gittens places 11th in women's long jump

T&T's Tyra Gittens also struggled on the day, finishing 11th in the final of the women's long jump in 6.27. Like Walcott, she achieved her longest distance in her first jump.

Thereafter, she could not improve in the three attempts required to medal. In her second jump, Gittens landed a distance of 6.17 metres and her final effort was even shorter at 6.03.

Nigeria's Ese Brume produced a games record of 7.00 for the gold medal. She was followed into second by Australian Brooke Buschkuehl with a jump of 6.95 while Deborah Acquah of Ghana took the bronze with her best attempt of 6.94.

Daniel finishes ninth in men's triple jump

Kelsey Daniel was ninth in the men's triple jump final. He delivered a distance of 15.93m on his first jump but then gave himself more hope on the second jump with 15.95 metres. With expectations of going even further on his third and final jump, Daniel lept to 15.72 to settle for ninth.

The event was won by India's Paul Eldhose with a distance of 17.03 with his countryman Abdulla Aboobacker Narangolintevid taking the silver with his jump of 17.02 and Bermuda's Jah-Nhai Perinchief securing the bronze in 16.92.

Campbell battles to sixth spot in women's road race

Teniel Campbell battled to a sixth-place finish in the women's road race. She produced an average speed of 40.785 to cross the finish line in a time of 2:44.46. That event was won by Australian Georgia Baker, claiming the top spot in a mad rush to the finish line in similar figures, while Scotland's Neah Evans took the silver medal and Australia's Sarah Roy, the bronze medal.

After the race Campbell, the first female T&T rider to have qualified for an Olympic Games took to social media to express how she felt.

"Trying to keep my tears back and hold my head high. (Just need a couple more hours and I'll be alright). I really, really, really wanted to deliver/represent for the entire Caribbean region to give us something to celebrate. I just knew how much that would have meant to everyone as well as how much hope it would have given our riders to continue chasing their crazy cycling dreams despite all odds," said Campbell via Facebook yesterday.

"Today was an opportunity lost in the final meters of the road race. Had to gamble with countries that had trained and go all in with my decision that happen to constantly be changing, as I was unsure.

"Should have bet on myself and lead me out, but that extra bit of confidence just wasn't there to do it without constantly overthinking."

She added: "In a matter of seconds, a podium was gone once I got boxed in. Tried to get out and hoped, but just kept getting hooked in every attempt made. Even at one point, it felt like maybe I just didn't have that Ôzap in the legs'. Guess I need to get more explosive and faster. Well played and deserved by the Australians.

"My results hurt everything, down to my soul but as everyone says Ôthis is bike racing, more opportunities will come'. Just gotta wait another four years.