By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
IT wasn’t the type of performance that our men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team or twin brothers Lathone and Latario Collie-Minns expected on the final day of competition for track and field at the XVIII Pan American Games.
But there were celebrations for Laura Morley in swimming as she emerged as the champion of the B final in the women’s 200m individual medley as both disciplines closed out competition at the games in Lima, Peru.
As the five days of competition in track and field was completed on Saturday at the Athletics Stadium Parque Kennedy, the quartet of Ojay Ferguson, Alonzo Russell, Andre Colebrook and Jeffery Gibson could only muster a seventh place finish in a time of three minutes and 09.98 seconds in the final of the men’s 1,600m relay.
The Bahamas was out of contention for a medal from the opening leg and was never in the thick of things as their time was slower than the 3:09.44 produced by the Bahamas’ B team at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations Senior Nationals in Grand Bahama. In that race, the A team did 3:05.84 to trail Botswana, who won in 3:03.33.
At Pan Am, Colombia pulled off the upset on the final leg for the gold in a season’s best of 3:01.41. The United States got the silver in 3:01.72 and Trinidad & Tobago had to settle for the bronze in 3:02.25.
In the men’s triple jump, Lathone Collie-Minns got a pair of jumps on his second and third attempts with 15.68 and 15.78 metres or 51-5 1/2 and 51-9 1/4 respectively for 11th place. Latario Collie-Minns failed to post a mark.
American Omar Craddock soared 17.42m (57-2) on his fifth attempt to snatch the gold from Cuba’s Jordan Diaz, who did a season’s best of 17.38m (57-0 1/4) on his fourth try for the silver. His compatriot Andy Hernandez got the bronze with 16.83m (55-2 3/4) for the bronze. The Bahamas ended up with a bronze medal from sprinter Tynia Gaither in the women’s 200m on Friday. That performance enabled the Bahamas to finish tied for 29th place with Aruba and Honduras, all with one bronze.
Gaither, 26, became the first female sprinter since the era of the Golden Girls to get on the podium, winning her first individual medal at a major international senior meet.
The Grand Bahamian native clocked 22.76 for bronze as she trailed Jamaica’s two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who sped out of the blocks and powered down the homestretch to clinch the gold in a personal best of 22.43 to smash the previous 40-year-old mark of 22.45 that was set by American Evelyn Ashford in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1979.
Victoria Rosa of Brazil also turned in a PB of 22.62 for the silver, while Bahamian double national champion Anthonique Strachan came on strong at the end, but had to settle for fifth in 22.97.
Only Gaither came back later in the night for relay duties in the women’s 4 x 100m final. She ran on the anchor leg, but never got the baton as Grand Bahamian Brianna Bethel and hurdler Pedrya Seymour couldn’t connect on the second exchange. Devynne Charlton, another hurdler, ran the opening leg.
Brazil stole the show, winning the gold in a season’s best of 43.04 with Canada getting the silver 43.27, a SB as well, while the United States ended up with the bronze in 43.39. Trinidad & Tobago was fourth in 43.57 for a SB as well, but Jamaica, without Fraser-Pryce and games’ 100m champion Elaine Thompson, came in fifth in 43.74.
The men’s high jump final also featured two Bahamian competitors on Friday, but things didn’t go so well for either Donald Thomas or Jamal Wilson.
Thomas, the 2009 World champion, had to settle for a two-way tie for 11th place with Carlos Daniel Layoy of Argentina after they both cleared 2.10 metres or 6-feet, 10 3/4-inches.
Wilson didn’t clear a height in the competition that saw Cuban Luis Enrique Fernandez soar to a personal best of 2.30m (7-6 1/2) for the gold over silver medallist Michael Mason of Canada with 2.28m (7-5 3/4) and Mexico’s Robert Ruisanchez with 2.26m (7-5) for the bronze.
Morley captured B final title
At the Videna Aquatics Centre on Saturday, Morley, the lone Bahamian in an individual event, left her name on the games as the B final champion in the women’s 200m IM.
Her time was 2:18.54 as she produced splits of 30.43 in the first 50m butterfly; 36.38 in the 50m backstroke for 1:06.81 for the 100m mark; 38.62 in the 50m breaststroke for 1:45.43 for 150 and 38.62 in the final 50m freestyle.
That time would have tied her for eighth place in the A final that was done by Virginia Bardach of Argentina. The A final was won by American Alexandra Walsh in 2:11.24.
Morley just missed making the A final with her second place in her heat for ninth place overall in the preliminaries earlier in the day. Her time was 2:19.37. She had splits of 30.79 for the first 50m butterfly, 36.28 (1:07.07) for the backstroke at the 100m mark; the breaststroke in 38.85 (1:45.92) for 150m and 33.45 in the final 50m in the freestyle.
Not done yet, Morley (butterfly), joined sisters Margaret Albury (backstroke) and Lilly Higgs (breaststroke) and Ariel Weech (freestyle) in the final of the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay. They placed eighth in a time of 4:27.52.
The United States won the gold in 3:57.64, Canada got silver in 4:01.90 and the bronze went to Brazil in 4:04.96.
In the preliminaries of the women’s medley relay earlier in the day, Albury Higgs (backstroke), Lilly Higgs (breaststroke), Laura Morley (butterfly) and Ariel Weech (freestyle) raced for a combined time of 4:26.60 to clinch the eighth and final spot for the final. They came fourth in the last of two heats.
The Bahamas was also entered in the first of two heats in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay, but did not start. With just four teams left in their heat and five in the second, the event went to a straight final.
On Friday, Weech highlighted Team Bahamas’ performances when she placed fifth in the women’s 50m freestyle B final in 46.48. The winner of the race was Jeserik Pinto Sequera in 26.08.
Weech, the oldest member of the Bahamian swim team at age 26, advanced to the B final after she got sixth place in the third of four heats in the semi-final in 26.84 for 17th place overall.
In the men’s 50m freestyle preliminaries, Gershwin Greene placed 17th overall in 23.33 after he got eighth in the third of fours heats in the preliminaries.
On Thursday in the men’s B final of the 100m freestyle, Jared Fitzgerald came in fifth in 50.81 with a split of 24.46 in the first 50m. The race was won by Benjamin Hockin of Paraguay in 49.89.
And in the 200m breaststroke B final, Margaret Albury Higgs was fourth in 2:34.17. She touched the wall in splits of 34.87 in the first 50m; 38.80 for 1:13.67 for 100m; 39.78 for 1:53.45 for 150m. Pamela de Souza of Brazil clinched the victory in the race in 2:31.30.
In judo at the Sports Center, Cynthia Rahming was eliminated in the women’s -57 kilogram 1/8 final in a 10-3 decision to Kiara Arango from Peru. Arango was awarded the match on penalty (Golden Score). Rahming was charged with a Shido, which is a light penalty given for a rules violation.
On the final day of competition for the Bahamas on Sunday, Sasha Ingraham lost 11-0 to Gabrielle Wood from Trinidad & Tobago in the women’s 78 kilogram judo competition.
The 2023 Pan Am Games is scheduled for Santiago, Chile, October 20 to November 5.