GOLD FOR MICHELLE-LEE AHYE AS ASHA PHILIP RUES LOST OPPORTUNITY
TRINIDAD and Tobago has produced some great male sprinters over the years. Hasely Crawford won 1976 Olympic 100m gold and Ato Boldon took the 1997 world 200m crown and 1998 Commonwealth
100m title. Even McDonald Bailey, the famous British sprinter of the 1940s and
1950s, was born in Trinidad.
In the Carrara Stadium on Monday evening, though, Michelle-Lee Ahye helped fellow females from her country step out of the shadow of the men when she became the first woman sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago to win Commonwealth gold.
Never troubled in the race, the heavily-tattooed Ahye stormed away to win in 11.14 (+1.0) as she beat the Jamaican duo of Christiana Williams and Gayon Evans.
Close behind there was bitter disappointment for
English hope Asha Philip as she finished a close fourth despite having been the quickest athlete in the semi-finals. “That was shocking,” she said.
Philip’s post-race reaction was in stark contrast to Ayhe as the 25-year beamed: “I hope the younger runners can see me as a role model.”
It made up for the anguish of four years earlier when she had exited at the semi-final stage of the Games in Glasgow.
She added: “I was just determined throughout the heats and kept to my plan. I think my family and country will be very proud. It means a lot to me to represent Trinidad and Tobago.”
As for her future goals, she said: “My main focus is to stay healthy and get stronger.”
The result was not a surprise, though, for Ahye clocked 10.82
last year – the third fastest time in the world in 2017.
Trinidad and Tobago showed strength in depth, too, as Khalifa St Fort, who is only 20 and coached by Boldon, was sixth, with Reyare Thomas – another Trinidadian – finishing in seventh.
In the rounds, Amy Foster of Northern Ireland was fourth in Philip’s semi-final in 11.54 and Corinne Humphreys of England was sixth in her semi in 11.66.
The inclusive spirit of the Friendly Games was demonstrated, meanwhile, by the sight of athletes from Vanuatu, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands finishing well adrift of fellow competitors in the heats.
Michelle-Lee Ahye: first Trinidad andTobago female athlete to win gold
Michelle-Lee Ahye: decisive winner ofwomen’s 100m
Asha Philip: upset to narrowly miss a medal