Source: www.trinidadexpress.com  By Kwame Laurence in New Delhi

DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 08: Ayanna Alexander of Trinidad and Tobago reacts as she wins silver in the women's triple jump during day five of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)Ayanna Alexander jumped into the spotlight at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here in New Delhi, India, yesterday, the 28-year-old securing silver to become Trinidad and Tobago's most successful female athlete in Commonwealth Games history.

Alexander produced a 13.91 metres effort in the second round of the women's triple jump to finish second, behind former world champion Trecia Smith, the Jamaican retaining her Commonwealth crown with a 14.19m jump. Canada's Tabia Charles (13.84m) picked up bronze.

"It feels good," an elated Alexander told the Express, shortly after her silver success. "I wanted to come out here and glorify God with the gift he has given me, and then represent my country to the fullest. I want to make Trinidad and Tobago proud, everybody in Trinidad and Tobago proud, as well as my teammates, my family and my friends…just to fly that flag and represent Trinidad."

Alexander has long been in the shadow of T&T's more celebrated female athletes—Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Rhonda Watkins, Josanne Lucas and Cleopatra Borel-Brown.

"I've come back home a couple times and looked in the newspapers and would see that such and such is going to be triple jumping from this country, such and such is going to be triple jumping from that country, but I didn't see anything about my name. That drives me.

"And just like here, such and such was in medal contention…my name was not mentioned. That's just fuel for me. I'm just trying to make a way for myself and do the best that I can."

Yesterday, Alexander succeeded in her bid to jump out of obscurity, the US-based athlete becoming only the second female from T&T to earn precious metal at the Commonwealth Games. Silver put her at the top of the very short list--ahead of Borel-Brown, the women's shot put bronze medallist four years ago.

"Definitely the start of great things ahead," Alexander declared. "It was an opportunity, a chance to compete hard and put myself out there, and I took advantage of the opportunity. Ayanna Alexander is here!"

Smith grabbed gold yesterday with her only legal jump of the competition. Alexander, on the other hand, had the most impressive series of the 11 athletes on show—13.68, 13.91, 13.68, 13.81, 13.82 and 13.87.

Lalonde Gordon, the lone T&T quartermiler here in New Delhi, finished strong in the third and final men's 400m semifinal heat, crossing the line in a personal best 46.33 seconds to secure fourth spot in the race. The clocking, though, was not fast enough to earn him a lane in today's final.

Alexander will be back at the Nehru Stadium today for the women's long jump qualifying competition. Watkins is also among the athletes who will bid for a berth in tomorrow's final.

Borel-Brown chases precious metal in the women's shot put, and Emmanuel Callender faces the starter in the opening round of the men's 200m.

If Borel-Brown can reproduce the form that saw her clear 19 metres at three meets in Europe in August, she will surely become T&T's first female multi-medallist at the Commonwealth Games.


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