Keston Bledman and Richard “Torpedo” Thompson are confident of earning precious metal in the Commonwealth Games men’s 100 metres dash, here in Glasgow, Scotland, today.
But first, the Trinidad and Tobago sprinters must successfully negotiate their semi-final races. Bledman will run in heat one, while Thompson has been drawn in heat three. The top two finishers in each of the three heats will qualify automatically for the final, which takes place at 4.50 p.m. (TT time).
Bledman enjoyed an easy passage to the semis, winning his first round heat in 10.16 seconds.
Thompson, on the other hand, endured some anxious moments after misjudging the speed of his rivals in heat three. The ninth fastest man in history, at 9.82 seconds, clocked 10.33 yesterday to finish third in the race. With only the top two earning automatic semifinal berths, his fate was uncertain.
“I tried to take it easy and qualify in the top two,” Thompson told the Express, “but I took it a little too easy. I underestimated where first and second were, so hopefully I’m back tomorrow (today), and then there’s no holding back. I’ll be ready to go.”
As it turned out, Thompson and England’s Harry Aikines-Aryeetey were joint-fastest of the five sprinters who advanced via the “fastest loser” route.
“I feel good,” said Thompson, “I feel strong, and I feel ready to win the championship. I’m in shape to win. Whatever time it takes, that’s what I’m ready to do.”
Bledman was also excited about his precious metal prospects.
“I need a medal,” he told the Express. “That medal’s pretty. I need one. I’m going with God.
“Any race I run, I run to win,” Bledman continued. “My season was not going as best as it could because I had a lot of injuries. I came across to Europe and was running 10.5 and 10.4. That’s depressing because I haven’t run those times since I was a junior.”
The voice of his 18-month-old daughter, Zion could well be the push Bledman needs to get to the podium.
“I came here, trained, refocused, prayed a lot, talked to my daughter a lot. She always says ‘Daddy, run, run, run, run, run,’ so before I start I keep hearing in my head, ‘Daddy, run, run, run, run, run’.”
Darrel Brown, the third T&T sprinter entered in the men’s century, is nursing a hip injury, and did not face the starter in heat six.
Michelle-Lee Ahye was one of the women’s 100m favourites, ahead of the Games. However, she hurt her left hamstring at a meet in Switzerland a couple weeks ago, and was visibly struggling at Hampden Park yesterday.
Running with her left leg strapped, Ahye finished second in heat four in 11.52 seconds, earning an automatic berth in today’s semis. But the T&T sprinter was limping after the race, and, according to athletics manager George Comissiong, she has been withdrawn from the meet in order to facilitate treatment.
Kai Selvon and Kamaria Durant also qualified for the semi-final round. Selvon was fourth in heat two in 11.66 seconds, progressing as a “fastest loser”, the same route to the semis taken by Durant, who finished fourth in heat six in 11.80.
“It wasn’t my best,” Selvon told the Express, “but it’s my first race back healthy. For Nationals, I was injured, so I still have work to do. I was rusty.”
In the women’s 400m, Domonique Williams advanced to the semifinal round automatically after finishing third in heat four in 54.43 seconds. Shawna Fermin, fifth in heat two in 54.10, was a “fastest loser” qualifier. Romona Modeste, however, was eliminated. She clocked 55.16 for sixth spot in heat six.
And Robert Collingwood threw the iron ball 17.83 metres to finish 13th in the men’s shot put qualifying competition, missing out on a berth in the 12-man final by one spot.
T&T boxer Michael Alexander progressed to the quarter-final round in the men’s lightweight division. In his round of 16 bout, at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), the 21-year-old outpointed Pakistan’s Ali Ahmad. The decision was a unanimous one, all three judges scoring in favour of Alexander.
At the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Quincy Alexander finished fourth in the third heat of the first round repechage of the keirin event. His T&T teammate, Njisane Phillip was fourth in heat four. Both cyclists were eliminated. In the first round, Alexander was sixth in heat four, while Phillip was listed in heat two but did not start.
T&T finished 14th in the 16-team rugby sevens tournament, after losing to Sri Lanka in the shield final. Sri Lanka produced a dominant performance, coming away with a 43-7 victory. For T&T, Anthony Lopez scored a try and Keishon Walker made a successful conversion.
In the bowl quarter-final, earlier in the day, T&T were beaten 33-0 by Canada, but bounced back to earn their only victory of the tournament, getting the better of Malaysia 15-10 in the shield semis. Captain Joseph Quashie, David Gokool and Walker scored tries for T&T.
At the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre, in Carnoustie, Norris Gomez was 18th after the opening day of the Queen’s Prize individual event. His T&T teammate, Michael Perez was 28th. On Friday and Saturday, Gomez and Perez teamed up for 15th spot in the Queen’s Prize pairs event.
At the National Hockey Centre, 16-year-old Brianna Govia scored T&Ts first goal of the 2014 Commonwealth Games women’s tournament. Govia was on target in the 67th minute in the country’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Canada.
The hockey men also lost to Canada, veteran Kwandwane Brown scoring from a penalty corner in the 57th minute for the lone T&T item in a 3-1 result.
Team T&T Today
(All TT times)
3.30 a.m. - Shooting, Roger Daniel, Rhodney Allen, Men’s 50m pistol qualifying
4.45 a.m. – Shooting, Norris Gomez, Michael Perez, Queen’s prize final
5.45 a.m. – Shooting, Marlon Moses, Men’s 50m rifle prone qualifying
6.13 a.m. - Swimming, George Bovell, Men’s 50 free, heat 9
6.25 a.m. - Athletics, Jarrin Solomon, Men’s 400, heat 1
6.30 a.m. – Netball vs Australia
6.32 a.m. - Athletics, Renny Quow, Men’s 400, heat 2
7.07 a.m. - Athletics, Lalonde Gordon, Men’s 400, heat 7
8.28 a.m. – Gymnastics, William Albert, Men’s individual qualifying
10.30 a.m. - Shooting, Roger Daniel, Rhodney Allen, Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol qualifying
2.00 p.m. - Hockey, Women vs India
2.17 p.m. - Athletics, Kamaria Durant, Women’s 100, semifinal 2
2.24 p.m. - Athletics, Kai Selvon, Women’s 100, semifinal 3
2.35 p.m. - Athletics, Keston Bledman, Men’s 100, semifinal 1
2.49 p.m. – Athletics, Richard Thompson, Men’s 100, semifinal 3
3.22 p.m. - Athletics, Shawna Fermin, Women’s 400, semifinal 2
3.29 p.m. - Athletics, Domonique Williams, Women’s 400, semifinal 3
4.10 p.m. – Athletics, Ayanna Alexander, Women’s triple jump qualifying