There was a "Roar" and with it came Michelle-Lee Ahye, who soared above all in winning the Commonwealth Games Women’s 100 metres title in Gold Coast, Australia, yesterday.
The reigning "Sportswoman of the Year" glided across the athletic surface in Queensland to comprehensively win her first major title and T&T’s first gold medal by a women's track athlete at any major Games.
Ahye with tears in her eyes, managed to speak and said: "I Love you mom, I thank you for everything."
The national double sprint champion was quickly away along with Asha Phillip of England as well as Christania Williams of Jamaica. By the midway point, Ahye with her flaming red hair bristling in the cool wind, was already into her top gear and the race was over in 11.14 seconds.
"My coach told me, 'execute first', then run your race and I did that exactly. I just stayed calm and did what I had to do," she said.
In the battle for second place, Williams edged out her late flying Jamaican compatriot Gayon Evans.
Twenty-year-old Khalifa St Fort running out of lane two did not start well and was sixth in a time of 11.37 while Reyare Thomas running from lane eight was even slower out of the blocks and lost her chance there and finished seventh in 11.51.
Thomas said, "I knew that my start would either assist me or act against me and it happened like that, it worked against me. I got off poorly and was not able to make it up but this is a learning experience for me and I am feeling good that I reached this final but now I want to go and do better.
"I am very happy as is everyone for Michelle. It was a great performance by her and it means a lot for all of us. Her success today and the fact that we could all be in the final, it really is a good feeling and we are looking forward to the girls in the 200m tomorrow (today) and then the relays," a smiling Thomas said.
It has not always been easy for Ahye but her mother Racquel had stood with her every way possible and as Ahye recalled the race, it was clear that her emotions were still raging.
"I am very proud of myself at the moment for achieving this today because people do not get recognised in T&T. I really was confident."
Happy birthday Michelle-Lee
When asked she knew she had the race won, Ahye said, "From 10 metres before the line, I said to myself yes this is mine."
"I will rest tonight and then tomorrow, I will celebrate,” said a happy Ahye, who turned 26 today.
Questioned by Guardian Sports Media on what this medal means ahead of the women’s 4x100 relay, Ahye sent some shockwaves when she said: "The girls are going good, although I am not running the relays."
Pressed further she said, "My coach told me only the 100m so although the girls told me they will miss me, they will get the stick around and run well. They will be all right."
Ahye revealed to Guardian media: "I will not be drawm into pressure from others because I have won this medal. I will blank out all of that and just do me.
“What I want for my birthday is for people to love us, keep supporting us and to stop bashing the athletes when they do not get a medal. People need to try to understand what we are going through and appreciate that."
As she walked away, our national flag held proudly in her hand, Ahye stopped and return to say: "Just ask people and those who can, believe in us, as much as we believe in ourselves and give us a chance please."
She laughingly added: "There may be another tattoo coming to signify this occasion."
Cedenio, Quow miss out on finals
Both of T&T’s two remaining 400m men, Renny Quow and Machel Cedenio failed to advance to the finals from their respective semifinals.
In heat two, Renny Quow running from lane four finished in sixth in a time of 47.21 while Cedenio running in heat three from lane four placed third in a time of 46.19.
Quow said, "I have not been feeling all that good since yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday) again I felt a tightness, which is a concern. I am going to have some work done on it, I just do not like the feeling.
“Next up is the 4x400m relay and we are not feeling any pressure, everything is good with us. We know what we have to do as a team, when that time reaches."
Cedenio said, "It is rather early in the season and I gave as best as I can in the event, I will get better in time but this race was just rather early for us.
“Lalonde is okay. He would have also experience same sort of situation with an early race but he is fine. The focus from tomorrow is the relays and as a group, we have come here knowing we are the World champions so we will be ready to compete."
Over on the field, Akeem Stewart led off in the Men’s shot put final group, where there were 11 other participants and was holding on to a top eight finish until the final round. He eventually finished ninth with a throw of 19.10m.
"I just love competition and that is why I was here today. Everyone treated me fairly out there, the only pity is that I still have no where to train in Tobago and that hurts so it looks as if I will have to leave Tobago and come to Trinidad at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, and that is very sad for me. Next up I have the discuss but this again is a lot of mental pressure because of the training facilities,” Stewart said.
Boxer Alexander makes his exit
Michael Alexander, a 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist, crashed out of the 60 kg boxing category, when he suffered a defeat in his second contest against India’s Manish Kaushik.
Alexander sporting a (three stiches) cut in the centre of his forehead, started well in the first round, but the southpaw from T&T seem to struggled against his opponent who was also a southpaw, but who in the second and third round was able to adapt both his defense and attack to counter any imbalance in the fighting techniques.
The individual judges scorecard seem to highlight that point, with Alexander ahead on three out of the five judges scorecards (Azerbaijan, Australia and China). However thereafter apart from one judge (Mauritius) in the second round, every other judge awarded the remainder of the fight to Kaushik.
Italian referee constant cries and warnings to Alexander for head being low and for holding eventually led to the referee signaling a one point deduction on all scorecards, which just increased the doomed destiny of Alexander.
"My legs were just not there today and I have to give credit, he got the better of me today, so I will have to learn from this and better adapt going forward. I am disappointed because I came here expecting to do better and this hurts,” a clearly disturbed Alexander said.
His manager Reynold Cox said, "We just hope that Alexander learns from this and ensures that he gets in all of the training that is necessary going forward and that talent alone will not always ensure you have success.”
Next up for T&T in boxing is 91 kg fighter Nigel Paul, who makes his first appearance today in a quarterfinal contest against India’s Satish Kumar at 6.47 am (TT time).
Beach volleyballers advance
Earlier in the day, long standing shooter Roger Daniel started off his participation in the shooting phase of the Games at the Men’s 10 Air pistol.
Spectacularly placing second in qualification with 572 points, however in the final, a few hours later Daniel could not maintain his leading form and finished fifth overall with 170.6 points, with eventual winner India’s Jtu Rai score being 235.1.
In beach volleyball, T&T men’s team of Daneil Williams and Daynte Stewart, having already qualified for the quarterfinals following two straight set victories over St Kitts/Nevis and Fiji, battled the host nation in a close contest, but eventually lost 2-0 (13-21, 16-21). The local men next play New Zealand in the quarterfinal at 1 am (TT time) this morning.
Meanwhile, the T&T women team of Rhezza Grant and Abby Blackman, playing for pride after two defeats, topped Fiji and in a tight affair, 21-18, 24-22