GOLD COAST, Australia, CMC – Michelle-Lee Ahye handed Trinidad and Tobago their maiden global women’s athletics gold and their first overall in two decades, when she sped to victory in the 100 metres final at the Commonwealth Games here yesterday.
The prerace favourite was away from the blocks first and led all the way to cross the line in 11.14 seconds, with Jamaican Christania Williams clinching silver in 11.21 and countrywoman Gayon Evans securing bronze in 11.22.
However, there was no such glory in the men’s final for hot favourite Yohan Blake who stumbled out of the blocks, failed to significantly recover and could only nick bronze in 10.19 seconds.
South African Akani Simbine swept gold in 10.03, dragging teammate Henricho Bruintjies with him for silver in 10.17.
The result was a massive disappointment for Jamaican Blake, widely viewed as the heir apparent to recently retired legend Usain Bolt.
Significantly, his anticipated victory in yesterday’s final was seen as the first step to his future domination of the event but that never materialised, leaving many with doubts over the 28-year-old.
Running out of lane seven, Blake stumbled briefly over his first few steps before regaining his balance but by then, Jason Rogers of St Kitts and Nevis in lane three had grabbed the early lead with Kemar Hyman of Cayman Islands also showing speed.
At 50 metres, Simbine hauled himself into contention before bursting to the lead and though Blake finally found some momentum, it was not enough to see him top the podium.
“I was stumbling all the way and I didn’t recover from it. I’ve been feeling good and it was not to happen today,” a frustrated Blake said afterwards.
“I’m disappointed because I’ve been feeling good. I didn’t get the start and I was all over the place. I couldn’t recover from it.
“I couldn’t catch the field as I wanted to. I was supposed to take this [race] very easily because I was ready and feeling good. It was just never meant to be I guess.” He added: “Maybe I was too confident and over thought it.”
Hyman finished fifth in 10.21 and Rogers sixth in 10.24, as Simbine became the first South African to win a Commonwealth 100m title.
Ahye, however, delivered the Caribbean’s big moment, leading a podium sweep for the region in style.
Sixth at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at last year’s World Championships in London, Ahye made no mistake this time around. Starting from lane four, Ahye was a clear leader after 30 metres with 20-year-old Trinidadian Khalifa St Fort chasing her from lane two.
Williams challenged late from lane five and Evans came flying on the outside but Ahye crossed the line first, pumping her fists in elation.
“I think my family and country will be very proud. It means a lot to me to represent Trinidad and Tobago,” the 26-year-old beamed afterwards.
T&T’s last individual gold medal came at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur when Ato Boldon captured the 100m in a record 9.88 which remains intact.