By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
GOLD Coast, Australia — Although it wasn’t exactly what she wanted, Bianca ‘BB’ Stuart was still delighted to walk off the field at the Carrara Stadium as an eighth place finisher in the women’s long jump final at the XXI Commonwealth Games.
In the midst of all of the excitement for Team Bahamas with Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s record-breaking gold medal performance and Jeffery Gibson adding another silver in the men’s 400m hurdles to Jamal Wilson’s first one in the men’s high jump, Stuart was hoping that she would get on the podium as well last night.
The 29-year-old national record holder was only able to match the same position that she posted in her first appearance at the four-yearly games in 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Her best leap of 6.30 metres or 20-feet, 8-inches came on the fifth of her attempts as she watched as Canada’s Christabel Nettey took the gold with 6.84m (22-5 1/4), while Australia’s Brooke Stratton got the silver with 6.77m (22-2 1/2) and England’s Shara Proctor was awarded the bronze with 6.75m (22-1 1/4).
“It was slightly better than yesterday,” said Stuart about her leap of 6.27m (20-7) she did the night before to secure the 11th place in the qualifying round. “A small improvement is always good. It’s still not what I wanted distance wise, but I gave it my all and the eighth place result was what we got so I was happy to make the final.”
With the assistance of coach Peter Pratt on the sidelines in the stands, Stuart said her performance has certainly given her some reason to look forward to the rest of the season with great anticipation.
“My approach is a little off, so just a little bit more repetition in practice and I should be able to get it together,” she said. “I will go back to training and I may take a couple of weeks off and probably won’t compete again until early May. I just don’t know yet.”
Having made it to the top eight to complete all six tries in the final, Stuart said she is hoping to go to the Central American and Caribbean Games in July in Colombia where she feels she can improve on her performance here once she can correct her approach to the board.
While her best mark came on her fifth attempt, Stuart also did 6.27m (20-7) on her first try, scratched the second, posted 6.29m (20-7 3/4) on the third and 6.25m (20-6 1/4) on the fourth, but scratched the sixth and final attempt.
Stuart, 29, rebounded from what she called “disappointing performances” at the IAAF World Championships last year in London, England, and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 when she failed to get out of the qualifying rounds. She did make the podium, getting a silver at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, in 2015, the same year she also didn’t advance out of the preliminaries at the World Championships in Beijing, China.