Wednesday 15 August, 2018

Caribbean stars who shone at the Commonwealth Games

(Image: AP: Saint Lucia's Levern Spencer competes in the high jump on 14 April 2018)

(Image: AP: Saint Lucia's Levern Spencer competes in the high jump on 14 April 2018)

The Commonwealth Games came to a close at Carrara Stadium on Australia’s Gold Coast on Sunday, bringing the curtain down on 11 days of intense competition on the track, in the pool and across a raft of sporting disciplines. Australia finished top of the medal table with 80 gold medals, helped by a great performance in the swimming. But Caribbean nations were well represented on the podium and excelled on the track. There were several firsts, from some nations winning their inaugural gold to others who took home their first medal. The closing ceremony even had a Caribbean flavour as star sprinter Usain Bolt took on DJ duties for a spell.

Loop looks back on some of the moments and athletes who made the Caribbean proud.

(Image: AP: Stephenie McPherson crosses the line)

Jamaica’s seven gold medals were all won in the athletics stadium. Stephenie McPherson took the anchor leg in the 4x400m women’s relay and had a smile on her face when she crossed the line in first place. She also took home a bronze medal from the 400m and her relay teammate Anastasia Le-Roy won the silver. Christine Day and Janieve Russell made up the winning quartet, and Russell returns home with two golds after her victory in the 400m hurdles.

(Image: AP: Janieve Russell lies on the track after winning gold on 12 April) 

Other champions include Ronald Levy, who sprinted to victory in the 110m hurdles followed by Hansle Parchment in a one-two for Jamaica, and triple jumper Kimberly Williams, who took gold with a winning jump of 14.64 meters, 12 centimetres clear of fellow Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts. In third was Dominica’s Thea Lafond who, together with male silver-medal winning triple jumper Yordanys Duranona, took home Dominica’s first ever Commonwealth Games medals.

(Image: Fedrick Dacres won discus gold)

In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase Aisha Praught upended traditional Kenyan domination of the race when she made her move at the final water jump to take the gold. And Jamaicans also excelled in the field events, with Fedrick Dacres taking gold in the discus throw and Danniel Thomas-Dodd taking top honours in the women’s shotput.

(Image: Jamaica's netballers beat New Zealand for the bronze)

Of Jamaica’s 27 medals, 25 were won on the track, including silver for the women and bronze for the men in the 4x100m relays. The other two came in the pool and on the netball court. Alia Atkinson took silver in the women’s 50m breaststroke and the Sunshine Girls defeated hot favourites New Zealand to take netballing bronze.

(Image: AP: England's Zharnel Hughes and T&T's Jereem Richards in the 200m final)

Athletes from Trinidad and Tobago also thrilled crowds in the stadium.  Michelle-Lee Ahye sprinted to gold in the 100m, securing the country's first female athletics gold medal. Jereem Richards added another gold to the tally when he won the 200m, after England’s Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for colliding with him. And Trinidad and Tobago also took home a medal from the pool, with Dyland Carter winning silver in the men’s 50m butterfly.

(Image: AP: Shaunae Miller-Uibo, pictured on 11 April 2018)

The Bahamas took home four medals on the track, including Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s gold in the women’s 200m in a new Commonwealth Games record time. The men took silver in the 4x400m relay and two more silvers were added by Jamal Wilson in the high jump and Jeffrey Gibson in the 400m hurdles.

Grenada’s Lindon Victor notched up his biggest win to date with gold in the men’s decathlon competition. His compatriot, Anderson Peters, took bronze in the men’s javelin.   

 (Image: AP: Kyron McMaster celebrates after winning gold) 

Kyron McMaster, meanwhile, notched up the first ever gold medal for the British Virgin Islands when he stormed to victory in the men’s 400m hurdles. This race featured a clean sweep for Caribbean runners, with Jeffrey Gibson second and Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde taking the bronze.

(Image: AP: Troy Doris of Guyana holds his flag after his triple jump victory)

In the triple jump Guyana’s Troy Doris struck gold when he leapt 16.88m in his second jump of the final. Levern Spencer, meanwhile, cleared 1.95m in the high jump to take St Lucia’s first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal. Prime Minister Allen Chastanet called her a “legend” and said the nation was “filled with immense joy and excitement”.

(Image: AP: Saint Lucia's Levern Spencer competes in the high jump on 14 April 2018)

By Loop’s count, Caribbean nations took home a total of 41 medals from the games, representing years of hard work and dedication on the part of the athletes. Well done to all the sportsmen and women who represented their nations and region with such excellence. And finally, here's Usain Bolt at the decks rocking the closing ceremony.

 (Image: AP)