Source: www.trinidadexpress.com By Kwame Laurence
Nothing in sport is guaranteed. Absolutely nothing. Rhonda Watkins was a victim of this undeniable truth, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here in New Delhi, India, yesterday.
The Trinidad and Tobago athlete was tipped for gold in the Commonwealth Games women's long jump, following her 6.56 metres leap in Saturday's preliminaries. She had led all qualifiers into the final, none of the other jumpers reaching the 6.50m automatic qualifying distance.
Watkins, though, could only manage fourth spot yesterday, missing out on a trip to the rostrum.
The US-based jumper was actually in danger of exiting the final after just three rounds. She fouled on her first two attempts, but saved face with jump number three, disturbing the sand at 6.36m. That effort turned out to be her best on the day.
Canada's Alice Falaiye snatched the gold medal from Indian Prajusha Maliakkal's grasp in the sixth and final round. Falaiye jumped 6.50m to nudge Maliakkal out of the top spot. In response, Maliakkal could only manage a 6.26m leap, and was forced to settle for silver, her best jump in the competition—6.47m—placing her one spot above another Canadian, Tabia Charles (6.44m).
T&T's triple jump silver medallist, Ayanna Alexander finished 11th in the long jump with a 5.87m leap. Emmanuel Callender finished seventh in the men's 200 metres final in 21.12 seconds. The T&T sprinter battled hard on the straight, but ran out of gas in the latter stages of the race.
England's Leon Baptiste earned half-lap gold in 20.45 seconds. Silver went to Jamaica's Lansford Spence in 20.49, while bronze was bagged by Welshman Christian Malcolm (20.52).
Callender, running way out in lane nine, was fourth in the first of two semifinal heats, his 21.05 seconds clocking earning him a lane in the final as a "fastest loser".
Aleesha Barber will be on the Nehru Stadium track today, bidding for honours in the women's 100m hurdles championship race. In the qualifying round, yesterday, the T&T athlete was second in heat two in 13.35 seconds, advancing automatically to the final.
Also in action today will be T&T's men's 4x100m relay team. They have been drawn in the first of three qualifying heats, along with Ghana, Nigeria, Vanuata, Mauritius, Turks and Caicos Islands and India. The top two teams will book automatic berths in tomorrow's final.