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The Bahamas ends Commonwealth Games with silver

The Bahamas men's 4x400m relay team wave on the podium after receiving their silver medals at Carrara Stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, on Saturday. Shown from left are Alonzo Russell, Stephen Newbold, Teray Smith and Ojay Ferguson. AP

A gutsy run by an unusual quartet gave The Bahamas one final medal at the 21st Commonwealth Games which wrapped up on Sunday in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

After qualifying in 3:04.62 at Carrara Stadium on Friday, the third-fastest time going into the final, team coaches in Australia made a risky call and what could have easily been called an unwise decision by sitting both of the veteran Golden Knights – Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller. Both Mathieu and Miller had subpar splits in the heats. Team coaches decided to go with half-lapper Teray Smith and Stephen “Dirty” Newbold in the final, and it worked in their favor, as the team, collectively, ran a faster time and came away with the silver medal.

The Bahamas men’s 4×400 meters (m) relay team of lead-off leg Ojay Ferguson, 24, second leg Smith, 23, third leg Newbold, 23, and anchor leg Alonzo Russell, 26, finished second in 3:01.92. Botswana, anchored by open 400m winner Isaac Makwala, won the gold in 3:01.78, The Bahamas claimed silver and Jamaica won the bronze in 3:01.97. Trinidad and Tobago was just outside of the medal picture, finishing in fourth in 3:02.85.

In what was undoubtedly one of the more exciting races of the championships, the lead changed hands four times, and five nations were in contention for the gold throughout the final leg of the relay. The Bahamas, the only nation in the top four that didn’t lead at some point during the race, ended up with the silver, mainly due to two strong legs by its final two runners.

Newbold was fantastic in bringing the country from fifth right into the fight for the gold on his third leg. He turned in a split of 45.31 seconds. Anchor leg Russell was even faster, running a split of 44.52 seconds. Russell ran a brilliant leg, immediately passing two runners on the first curve to get into second place, and maintaining that momentum for the duration of his run. He had to hold off a fast-charging Javon “Donkey Man” Francis on the anchor leg, just pushing forward at the tape for the second place position. Francis and Jamaica settled for third.

Lead-off leg Ferguson might have gotten out too fast, but he was running blind from lane eight and had little choice but to set a quick pace. By the 200m mark, he appeared to be ahead of most of the other competitors in the race. Ferguson didn’t come home in the final 200m as fast, but still handed off to Smith in second place, running a split of 46 seconds flat. Smith got off the first curve with the country still in second, but he labored in the final 200m of the race, particularly on the home stretch. In his defense, he’s a 200m runner, and doesn’t run the quarter-mile as much. Smith had a split of 46 seconds flat.

Newbold got the baton with The Bahamas in fifth. Not panicking, the former top flight junior sprinter paced himself properly and waited for the right moment to strike. On the home stretch, Newbold made up quite a bit of ground, and brought The Bahamas right back in contention for the gold. He had just closed about a 20-30 gap on the leaders, turning in the fastest split on his leg.

Chasing Makwala, one of the fastest quarter-milers in the world, Russell did as well as he could, keeping The Bahamas in the silver medal position. He had the fastest split on his leg, followed closely by Makwala’s 44.52 seconds.

It was The Bahamas’ second straight silver medal in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Commonwealth Games, and fourth medal of these Commonwealth Games this year.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo won gold in the women’s 200m in a games record of 22.09 seconds, Jeffery Gibson struck for silver in the men’s 400m hurdles in a season’s best time of 49.10 seconds, and Jamal Wilson won a silver medal in the men’s high jump with a clearance of 2.30m (7’ 6-3/4”).

In other events involving Bahamians on Saturday, Latario Collie finished 11th in the men’s triple jump final with a leap of 15.90m (52’ 2”); Rashji Mackey lost his men’s freestyle 86kg. match in wrestling to Kevin Wallen, of Jamaica; Jay Major Jr. and Anthony “Biggie” Colebrook failed to finish their 168.3km road race in cycling; and the women’s 4x100m relay team didn’t line-up on the track.

In the triple jump, Collie, 24, finished almost a full meter behind the winner. Troy Doris, of Guyana, won the gold with a leap of 16.88m (55’ 4-3/4”); Yordanys Duranona Garcia, of Dominica, was second with a jump of 16.86m (55’ 3-3/4”); and Marcel Mayack II finished third with a personal best leap of 16.80m (55’ 1-1/2”).

In wrestling, Mackey, 32, lost a close match to Wallen, falling 11-10 at the Carrara Sports Arena 1. Wallen outscored Mackey 10-8 in the first period, and Mackey won a defensive battle 2-1 in the second period. In the end, he came up just short of advancing to the semifinals.

In cycling, at the Currumbin Beachfront, both Major, 23, and Colebrook, 22, finished the men’s road race at the 37.4km mark. They were both timed in 1:08:06, after both split 32:42 at the 18.7km mark. Major was listed at number 110 at the 18.7km mark, and at number 108 at the 37.4km mark. Colebrook was listed at number 111 at the 18.7km mark, and at number 109 at the 37.4km mark.

The women’s 4x100m relay team didn’t start their race. In the relay pool for The Bahamas were Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan, V’Alonee Robinson, triple jumper Tamara Myers and long jumper Bianca Stuart.

The 21st Commonwealth Games wrapped up on Sunday with The Bahamas winning four medals – one gold and three silver.

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