Michael Alexander secures boxing medal

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Trinidad and Tobago boxer Michael Alexander is guaranteed at least a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games men’s lightweight division.

Alexander outpointed Barbadian Cobia Breedy at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), here in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday to advance to the semi-final round. He will next meet Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick for a spot in the final and the opportunity to go for gold. The two losing semi-finalists will be awarded bronze medals.

In a unanimous decision, all three judges scored yesterday’s quarter-final bout 30-27 in favour of Alexander.

At the Tollcross Swimming Centre, George Bovell finished fifth in the men’s 50 metres freestyle final. The T&T swimmer touched the wall in 22.31 seconds. England’s Benjamin Proud clocked 21.92 to take the gold, forcing Australians Cameron McEvoy (22.00) and James Magnussen (22.10) to settle for silver and bronze, respectively.

In athletics, T&T will have full representation in today’s men’s 400m final. Renny Quow will run in lane two, next to Lalonde Gordon, in three, while Jarrin Solomon has been drawn in lane seven.

In yesterday’s semi-final round, at Hampden Park, Gordon produced a strong run on the home straight to win heat three in 45.37 seconds. Solomon clocked 45.49 for second spot in the opening heat, and also advanced automatically. Quow earned his lane as a “fastest loser” after finishing third in heat two in 45.47.

T&T’s Tonya Nero completed her 25 laps of the track in 35 minutes, 48.63 seconds to finish 12th in the women’s 10,000m. Joyce Chepkirui took gold in 32:09.35, getting the better of her Kenya teammate Florence Kiplagat (32:09.48) in a close finish. Another Kenyan, Emily Chebet (32:10.82) bagged bronze.

Competing in cold conditions during yesterday’s opening session, T&T athletes struggled.

Janeil Bellille and Josanne Lucas exited the women’s 400m hurdles, but for different reasons.

Bellille was fourth in heat three in 57.51 seconds. With only the top two in each heat progressing automatically to the eight-woman final, Bellille’s only chance was to get in as a “fastest loser”. Her clocking, however, was not fast enough, the T&T athlete finishing ninth overall.

Lucas was drawn in the opening heat, but was disqualified for a false start. She now switches her attention to the 100m hurdles. The opening round will be contested tomorrow, and the final on Friday.

“Looking forward to it,” Lucas told the Express. “Everything is leading up to the 100-metre hurdles.”

Mikel Thomas finished 10th overall in the qualifying round of the men’s 110m hurdles, missing out on a berth in the final. The T&T hurdler was fourth in heat one in 13.86 seconds—too slow for a “fastest loser” berth.

Thomas’ T&T teammates, Durell Busby and Wayne Davis were non-starters in the sprint hurdles. Team manager George Comissiong told the Express that both athletes are injured. He said an MRI confirmed Davis’ injury ahead of the event, while Busby felt pain while warming up and opted not to face the starter.

Sixteen half-milers qualified for the semifinal round of the men’s 800m. T&T’s Kendis Bullard and Jamaal James were not among them, neither athlete coping well with cold Glasgow.

Running in heat two, Bullard could only manage sixth spot, returning a time of one minute, 51.57 seconds. James enjoyed a better finish in heat four, getting home fourth, but was slower than Bullard, clocking 1:51.62. Both times, however, were too slow for “fastest loser” qualification.

And in the men’s long jump qualifying event, Kyron Blaise fouled all three attempts and was eliminated.

A first half hat-trick from Kwandwane Browne set up a 4-2 victory for T&T’s hockey men in their pool B clash with Malaysia, at the National Hockey Centre. Browne’s three goals all came from penalty corners, the star player scoring in the 12th, 16th and 35th minutes. Mickell Pierre was also on target for T&T, opening the account in the eighth minute.

T&T were 4-1 ahead at the interval. The second half, however, was scoreless up until the final minute of the game, the Malaysians reducing the deficit with seconds left on the clock.

At the SSE Hydro, T&T gymnast William Albert totalled 75.682 to finish 23rd in men’s all-around qualification, earning a spot in the 24-man final. He is the second reserve for the rings final after finishing 11th in qualifying with a score of 14.200.

In table tennis, T&T players Dexter St Louis, Curtis Humphreys, Rheann Chung and Aleena Edwards have qualified for the knockout phase of the singles events.

St Louis won twice, including a 4-2 triumph over Barbadian Kevin Farley to top his preliminary round men’s singles group. Humphreys also recorded two victories to join St Louis in the round of 64.

In the women’s singles, Chung was victorious twice to advance to the round of 64. Edwards, meanwhile, lost to Barbadian Krystle Harvey. However, Edwards beat Jersey’s Kelsey le Maistre, and le Maistre defeated Harvey. With all three players getting a victory, Edwards’ superior record in the group matches earned her a passage to the knockout stage.

At the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), the T&T netballers were crushed 70-24 by England. Joanne Harten singlehandedly outscored T&T, the England goal shoot sinking 35 goals from 43 attempts. For T&T, goal attack Joelisa Cooper shot 81 percent--13 goals from 16 attempts.

At the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre, in Carnoustie, T&T shooters Michael Perez and Norris Gomez finished 26th and 33rd, respectively, in the Queen’s Prize individual event.

And in squash, there were defeats for all the T&T doubles pairs on show at Scotstoun Campus. Colin Ramasra and Kale Wilson lost to a Scottish pair in men’s doubles. Charlotte Knaggs and Kerrie Sample went under to Wales in women’s doubles. And in mixed doubles, Ramasra/Sample and Wilson/Knaggs were beaten by England combinations.

Team T&T Today

(All TT times)

4.30 a.m. – Table tennis, doubles

5.05 a.m. – Athletics, Ayanna Alexander, women’s long jump qualifying

5.09 a.m. – Athletics, Rondel Sorrillo, men’s 200 heats

5.16 a.m. – Athletics, Jereem Richards, men’s 200 heats

6.05 a.m. – Athletics, Deandra Daniel, women’s high jump qualifying

6.05 a.m. – Athletics, Kyle Greaux, men’s 200 heats

6.30 a.m. – Athletics, Jehue Gordon, men’s 400 hurdles heats

6.42 a.m. – Athletics, Emanuel Mayers, men’s 400 hurdles heats

7.00 a.m. – Squash, doubles

7.06 a.m. – Athletics, Alena Brooks, women’s 800 heats

7.56 a.m. – Gymnastics, William Albert, men’s all-around final

12.40 p.m. – Table tennis, women’s singles

After 1.30 p.m. - Boxing, Aaron Prince, men’s middleweight quarterfinal

3.30 p.m. - Athletics, Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, men’s 400 final

3.40 p.m. – Athletics, Cleopatra Borel, Annie Alexander, women’s shot put final

4.21 p.m. – Athletics, Reyare Thomas, women’s 200 heats

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Indians upset by mystery woman marching alongside them in Opening Ceremony

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India have complained to London 2012 over an apparent security lapse during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night when an unidentified woman walked alongside flag-bearer Sushil Kumar during the athletes' parade.

The young woman, dressed in a red shirt and blue trousers, marched next to the weightlifter, a bronze medallist at Beijing four years ago, despite having no visible accreditation.

India's Chef de Mission P K Muralidharan Raja has now complained to London 2012 about the incident which has become the main talking point in India about the much-praised Opening Ceremony.

"She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent and we are taking up the issue with the organisers," he said.

"We don't know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in.

"It is a shame that she was with the athletes in the march past.

"We were initially told that she would accompany the contingent till the track but she went on to take the entire lap.

"There was another man also but he stayed back and did not enter the Stadium.

"We have taken strong exception to this.

"The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent.

"We are totally taken by surprise how a person could just intrude into the track."

A total of 40 Indian athletes and 11 officials dressed in traditional blazers and Rajasthani yellow turbans or yellow sarees marched in the Opening Ceremony, earning one of the biggest cheers of the evening.

"The Indian contingent was shown for hardly ten seconds in the television coverage and the entire focus sadly was on this lady, instead of the athletes," said Raja.

It is a major issue for Raja to take over having only been promoted to the role of Chef de Mission on the eve of the Opening Ceremony after Ajitpal Singh, the original choice, was unable to travel here due to a serious back problem.

By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park in London

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

London Olympics 2012, here we are

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Is it the tension which precedes the entry to our Olympic challenge, or are you mesmerised by the spectacular dressings of that great city called London where the Bridge, The Palace, the river Thames, and the bustling old-fashioned taxis which mix with buses, trains, subway and overhead, all fitting snugly into space that often appear insufficient on a normal day. And while the athletes from almost every country (204) in the world have presented an enthusiastic, scintillating and colourful entry into the Olympic stadium, the fans of every sporting discipline will be present to ensure that Olympic history in brought to life four years after Beijing 2008. In open bars, around the parks of central London, Hyde Park, St James Park, the so called soap box Parliament at Hyde Park Corner, human voices using various languages, each representing a nation with obvious dialect, come together to create an atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival without bacchanal, surrounded by an unassuming, but alert police presence. With the brilliant start which saw a brazilian dominace on the football field, where flair and creativity mesmerised the Cameroun Women and the following day, the pain of the Egyptian politics was not spared by the men’s version of football’s ingenuity when the enthusiastic Egyptians chased around a plush field for forty-five minutes in search of a ball that seemed harder for them to find than a needle in a haystack.
The resilience of the Mubarak stained country’s youth showed their fight and surprised south Americans with speed and lethal finishing which led us to believe that the commitment to the sport has surpassed the turmoil of the past year in Cairo. The enjoyment gained from such an exercise was enough for the fans to take a deep breath on the opening day and await more excitement in the days to come. Ironically enough, the chosen Olympic City is clustered with international Cricket, super exciting football from various parts of the world live on TV with teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, AC Milan, Manchester city and many other world Class teams. It appears contrary to what the British was trying to market and one day the financial statistics may reveal the details of the end result. Then there is the constant hum coming from the Jamaicans and fans as to which of their world Class sprinters will earn the gold medals in the sprints. All interpretations echoed different formulas as to Bolt’s fitness. Some claimed that he is now fit and ready to take on all comers, including Yohan Blake, and will keep his success trail as he did between London and Beijing. But, hold a minute! The people friendly triple Gold medallist of the Beijing Olympics, may well be jolted over the new of his close friend and schoolmate will not make the trip to London because of a charge of double murder which has been laid against him recently. If the reports are true about the closeness of these two individuals are correct, Usain may have a serious bug to remove from his mental frame.
Others silently saw his recent withdrawal from what would have been his final preparation before the start of his Olympic Gold chase as a significant piece of evidence that all is still not well and may be just hoping to devise a method of pacing himself from the first round to the final. Possible, but we all have to wait and see. Our women athletes keep sending us some positive messages, not only in Cardiff last week, but for the past three months, and it will be unwise to ignore them. Their opponents are concerned over the recent improvement of Kerry Ann Baptiste , Cleopatra Borell and others, because of the times and distances which are alongside their names at every event. The men’s optimism should not be underestimated although statistics do not quite reflect any level of exuberance other patriotism. The build leading up to the present time, exposes keston bledman and Ronerl Sorillo as the ones leading towards a well judged peaktime, while we all have to await the arrival of the Richard Thompson when he leaves his final technical training before arriving in London. Trinis who have made the trip to provide patriotic support for the Red/white. And black of T&T will hope to erupt and bring London to a liveliness which only exists at Nottinghill carnival.
A Few whispers are about our young and exciting sailor Andrew Lewis, our cycling medal contender Njisane Phillips , together our marksman Roger Daniel. The twin Island state has much to which we can look forward. The atmosphere is electrifying in the Land that was once associated with us. We treasured their guidance then, and we even offered our Olympic gem of that era McDonald Bailey to them. His success was our way of showing the extra ordinary talent of our people. Today, there are many ageing athletes of yesteryear from this blessed country who are eagerly awaiting those who will add to the medal cabinet. Oh, how will Lennox Kilgour, Rodney Wilkes, Wendell Mottley, Edwain Roberts, Kent Bernard, Ed Skinner, ( who is actually present in London), our Olympic Gold medallist Hasely Crawford , and Ato Boldon feel  if Richard Thompson can inspire the group of contenders to another glorious moment to make this a wonderful gift to celebrate our fiftieth Anniversary of Independence. And if, like myself, you will be there to show support and allegiance to our country, our own Caribbean Airlines is ready to take you safely to the destination.
-Alvin Corneal
Source: www.guardian.co.tt

Good Start, Disappointing Conclusion but Aleena Edwards Could Still Smile Brightly

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An established member of her national team for well over a decade, Alena Edwards was the player to catch the eye as proceedings commenced in the second session of the sixth day of play, Tuesday 29th July, at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

She overcame Jersey’s Kelsey Le Maistre in five games (11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4), a player who was in good form. In the opening match in the group she had beaten Krystle Harvey of Barbados by a similar margin (11-9, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9) to the defeat she suffered against the Trinidadian. However, against the strong attacking play and the extra experience of Alena Edwards, the 18 year old Channel Islander on Commonwealth Games debut found life tough.

Games Ratio
A good start for Alena Edwards but it was not a good finish to the day; she was beaten by Krystle Harvey in five games (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8).

Nevertheless, she could still raise a smile, she finished in first place in the group on games ratio (7:5) with Kelsey Le Maistre in second spot (5:5) and Krystle Harvey third 5:7).

Injury Problems
Success for Alena Edwards and a sense of relief, in recent times she has not enjoyed the best of fortunes; the fact she was able to play positively, especially from the forehand was a good sign.

"In 2007, I got a shoulder injury, I didn't have an operation”, explained Alena Edwards. “I just rest for a few periods; if I play hard and do not have it treated, it would be problematic."

Against Kelsey Le Maistre, there appeared to be no physical problems for the young lady with a bright Caribbean smile who two years ago spent a considerable amount of time helping other without seeking gain or financial reward.

Volunteer in London
She was a volunteer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

"It was a great experience, I had the opportunity of not being a player, enjoy and watch other people play”, she explained.

A fine start for Aleena Edwards and earlier in the day it had been a fine start for two further tried and trusted members of the Trinidad and Tobago National Team.

Good Start for Renowned Duo
Earlier, both Dexter St. Louis and Rheann Chung had completed their first phase matches successfully and in first places in their respective groups.

Dexter St Louis, now 46 years old and one of the most experienced players on duty in Glasgow showed the form of 2002 Commonwealth Games when in the Men’s Team event he stunned the Manchester crowd by winning both his matches in opposition to England.

In Glasgow, in the opening phase of the Men’s Singles event, he accounted for both Kevin Farley of Barbados (18-16, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8) and Kenya’s Michael Owuo Otieno (11-4, 11-1, 11-3, 11-6).

Straight Games Success
A tough test against Kevin Farley but for Dexter St Louis but there were no such qualms for Rheann Chung, she did not surrender a single game.

She overcame Tanzania’s Neema Dennis Mwaisyula (11-5, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2) and Kaimalie Resture (11-3, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3).

First place in the group for Dexter St. Louis and it was the same for the other leading players on view.

Leading Names Top Groups
In addition to Dexter St. Louis it was first place for Canada’s André Ho and Pierre-Luc Theriault, as it was for Marios Yiangou of Cyprus, Australia’s David Powell and Malaysia’s Muhd Shakirin Ibraham. Likewise New Zealand’s Liu Tengteng and Phillip Xiao secured top spots in their groups.

First places for the top eight names on first stage Men’s Singles duty; it was the same for the women.

Alongside Rheann Chung it was pole position for England’s Tin-Tin Ho and Charlotte Carey of Wales, as it was for the Nigerian trio of Offiong Edem, Cecilia Akpan and Ganiat Ogundele.

Not to be left out New Zealand’s Annie Yang and Northern Ireland’s Amanda Mogey secured first places in their groups.

Main Draw
Play in the first and second rounds of the Women’s Singles event commences on Wednesday 30th July; for the Men’s Singles competition it is one day later, Thursday 31st July.

The top 16 men and top 16 women enter proceedings in round two.

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ALEXANDER JOINS THE CLUB

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Another Commonwealth medal for T&T jumper

Ayanna Alexander has joined the club—Trinidad and Tobago’s Commonwealth Games multiple-medallist club.

Alexander chose just the right occasion to produce her best 2014 effort, the 32-year-old athlete disturbing the sand at 14.01 metres to strike bronze in the women’s triple jump, at Hampden Park here in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.

“It feels great,” Alexander told the Express. “As always, there’s adversity here and there. Four months ago, I couldn’t walk. I’ve been bouncing back from an ankle injury. The plan was always to come here, and come back strong.”

It was a strong showing indeed, Alexander’s superb performance earning her membership in an elite club, alongside some of the biggest names in T&T sporting history.

Sprinter Edwin Roberts is the “president” of the club with five Commonwealth Games medals, captured at the 1966 and 1970 editions. Hasely Crawford, Kent Bernard and shooter Roger Daniel have three each, while eight athletes have achieved two podium finishes, for a total of 12 club members.

Ahead of the 2014 Games, Roger Gibbon, Leslie King, Rodney Wilkes, Brandon Bailey, Wendell Mottley, Benedict Cayenne and Cleopatra Borel were the double medallists. Alexander is the newbie, adding yesterday’s bronze to the silver she had earned in the same event at the 2010 Games in Delhi, India.

Afterwards, T&T’s first medallist here at Glasgow 2014 took a victory run on the back straight with the Red, White and Black blowing behind her. She then joined Jamaican gold medallist Kimberly Williams (14.21m) and English silver medallist Laura Samuel (14.09m) for a spirited victory lap.

“When I got silver in Delhi,” said Alexander, “I didn’t have a flag when the competition was finished. So this was the first time being able to experience taking a victory lap having a T&T flag draped around me. It was a really indescribable moment for me because I feel I was deprived of that in Delhi.

“I got a silver medal there,” she continued, “but just the whole overall feeling of being able to come back, knowing where I came from at the beginning of the season…I was probably counted out. I just thank God. I’m grateful to come and represent T&T another time at Commonwealth Games.”

Alexander endured the cold weather here in Glasgow, brushing aside the 16-degree Celsius conditions to put together a solid series of jumps—13.54m, 13.75m, 13.99m, a wind-assisted 13.53m, 14.01m, and finally, 13.77m.

Alexander and Borel are the only female members of the country’s multi-medallist club. In fact, they are the only women from T&T to have earned precious metal at the Commonwealth Games.

But Alexander is not satisfied. She wants to climb the podium at both the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Alexander knows medal success on the global stage does not come easily, and without calling names, she sent out a strong message to the powers that be.

“I’m hearing that people want medals, so the goal is to get on that podium. I hope the plan is in place to help get me there.”

In the words of Jesus, in Matthew 11:15, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

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