Not that it has never been done before, but every time it happens, it triggers goose bumps. Jamaican athletes yesterday again swept the medals in one final at a major athletics meet, this time at the XX Commonwealth Games. Memories are still fresh of that sweep by Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir in the 200m at the London 2012 Olympics, just south of here.
This time, Jamaica’s 400m women have created history by doing the unimaginable. Stephenie McPherson, with a time of 50.67 seconds, glided to gold, followed by the never-say-die Novlene Williams-Mills (50.86) for silver, and then blasting through towards the end for bronze was Christine Day (51.09).
And the perfect picture was completed.
Defending champion from Delhi 2010, Amantle Montsho (51.10), was beaten into fourth.
“I was relaxed, and as my coach said, I don’t need to fight, so I just relaxed and swung my arms and that’s what I did,” said McPherson, a finalist in Moscow last year.
Williams-Mills, who had won bronze in the event in the games of Melbourne, Australia, in 2006, said she was a bit disappointed she did not win gold. But she has found comfort that the booty will be shared among her countrywomen.
“You know what, I am happy, I came here to run and I gave it my all…I am a little bit disappointed, but you know what, maybe it wasn’t in God’s plan for me to get the gold medal today. I am still happy with the outcome,” said the veteran.
Day, for her part, wore a big smile at the end. One wonders what her reaction would be if she had actually taken one of the more precious prizes.
“First, I have to really thank God to make it possible, and I am really grateful for it (bronze medal) as it is my first individual medal at a major championship, so of course I am going to be excited,” she beamed.
But other moments of glory for Jamaica were celebrated at Hampden Park last night. Kimberly Williams continued a rich trend for Jamaican women in the triple jump at these games when she won gold with 14.21 metres, a season’s best. She followed in the footsteps of Trecia Kay Smith, who won gold at the previous two meets.
The silver yesterday went to England’s Laura Samuels (14.09) and the bronze to Ayanna Alexander (14.01) of Trinidad and Tobago.
Andrew Riley, two-time national champion and finalist at the Moscow World Championships last year, battled the hurdles to take the men’s sprint gold in 13.32 seconds, dipping at the line. England’s William Sharman (13.36) claimed silver, while Barbados’ Shane Brathwaite (13.49) had to settle for bronze.
The three gold, one silver and a bronze hauled away by Jamaicans yesterday bring their total load so far to 12.
On Monday they had won six medals — two gold, two silver and three bronze. Swimmer Alia Atkinson, who claimed one of those bronze medals, started Jamaica’s medal run with silver last Friday in the 50m breaststroke.
Jamaica’s 400m men failed to set a course to mirror the success of their female counterparts, however, in yesterday’s semi-final, Rusheen McDonald and Akheem Gauntlet failed to advance to today’s final. McDonald finished down the track in fourth, while Guantlet ended fifth.
Jamaicans are back in action in track and field this morning with Chanice Porter and Jovanee Jarrett competing in the women’s long jump qualifying round; Warren Weir, Jason Livermore and Rasheed Dwyer in the men’s 200m heats; men’s 400m hurdles semi-final heats with Answert Whyte, Leford Green and Roxroy Cato; women’s 800m with Natoya Goule, Kimara McDonald and Simoya Campbell; Chad Wright and Jason Morgan in the men’s discus throw; Salcia Slack in heptathlon long jump and javelin throw; Damar Forbes, long jump final; men’s 800m semi-final Ricardo Cunningham; women’s 200m heats with Samantha Henry-Robinson, Anneisha McLaughlin and Schillonie Calvert.