The past two days has shown just how mighty The Bahamas is in athletics, and, by extension, sports!
Just a day after Antoine Andrews won gold for The Bahamas at the World Juniors, halfway across the world, LaQuan Nairn – another St. John’s College product – was golden at the 22nd Commonwealth Games.
Nairn popped a massive leap of 8.08 meters (m) – 26’ 6-1/4” – on his second attempt at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England, on Thursday, to capture the gold. Sreeshankar Sreeshankar, of India, had an identical leap of 8.08m, but Nairn had the better second-best jump to give him the edge. Jovan Van Vuuren, of South Africa, had a best leap of 8.06m (26’ 5-1/2”) for the bronze.
Nairn, who has been around the eight-meter mark all season, had a fantastic series of jumps, leaping 7.94m (26’ 0-3/4”) in the first round, 8.08m in the second round, and fouled in the third and fourth rounds before closing out with jumps of 7.84m (25’ 8-3/4”) and 7.98m (26’ 2-1/4”). It was a wire-to-wire win for the Bahamian national record holder indoors.
His victory didn’t come as a major surprise as he went into the final with the second-best jump in qualifying, and is listed as number nine on World Athletics Top Performance List for 2022. Nairn has a season’s and personal best leap of 8.22m (26’ 11-3/4”), trailing just national record holder Craig Hepburn among Bahamians all-time in the men’s long jump.
Nairn’s glorious gold is the 38th medal in the history of the Commonwealth Games for The Bahamas – 11 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze.
Nairn is coming off a performance at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in which he failed to make the men’s long jump final, but bounced back in a big way in Birmingham. It’s his first gold medal at a major senior games, and also the first gold medal in the men’s long jump in the history of the Commonwealth Games for The Bahamas.
Also competing on Thursday for The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Games were Kendrick Thompson in the men’s decathlon, Denisha Cartwright in the women’s 200m heats and Lorin Sawyer and Felix Neely in cycling.
Cartwright finished fifth in her first-round heat of the women’s 200m, and finished 25th overall, with a run of 24.49 seconds. She missed advancing to the semis by two one hundredths of a second. TyNia Gaither was scheduled to run in the heats of the women’s 200m as well, but was a no-show for the start of her race and listed as a DNS (did not start) on the official race sheet.
Thompson got his men’s decathlon competition underway, competing in the men’s 100m, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump and the 400m. His best placement in the five events was a fourth place finish in the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.43m (24’ 4-1/2”).
Thompson ran a subpar 11.18 seconds in the men’s 100m, leapt 7.43m (24’ 4-1/2”) in the men’s long jump, had a throw of 11.63m (38’ 1-3/4”) in the men’s shot put, cleared 1.94m (6’ 4-1/4”) in the men’s high jump, and finished off the first day of competition with a run of 50.07 seconds in the men’s 400m.
Thompson is currently in seventh place in the competition, totaling 3,883 points. He is making history as the first Bahamian to compete in a multi events competition for The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Games.
The Caribbean, specifically Grenada, is well-represented among the medal contenders as defending champion Lindon Victor leads the way with 4,327 points, and his countryman Kurt Felix is in the bronze medal position with 4,145 points. Cedric Dubler, of Australia, is sandwiched between the two Grenadians with 4,242 points.
The men’s decathlon competition wraps up today with the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500m.
In the Men’s Individual Time Trial in cycling, Lorin Sawyer was 44th overall out of 54 competitors in 1:02:19.72, finishing about 16 minutes behind the winner. He had an average speed of 36.003 kilometers per hour for the 37.4-kilometer road course. Felix Neely finished 54th overall in 1:07:58.03, about 21 and a half minutes behind the winner. He had an average speed of 33.016 kilometers per hour.
Rohan Dennis, of Australia, won the gold medal in 46:21.24, Fred Wright, of England, claimed the silver medal with a ride of 46:47.52, and Geraint Thomas, of Wales, won the bronze medal with a ride of 46:49.73.
In addition to Thompson, Devynne Charlton will be in action in the semifinals of the women’s 100m hurdles today and Alonzo Russell will run in the semifinals of the men’s 400m.
Charlton will run out of lane five in the second of three semifinal heats of the women’s 100m hurdles at 5:36 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in The Bahamas. The top two in each semifinal heat and the next two fastest times will advance to Sunday’s final. In the men’s 400m semis, Russell will run out of lane nine in the third of three semifinal heats at 4:20 p.m. The final event of the men’s decathlon, the 1,500m run, will take place at 4:27 p.m. today.
Over the weekend, Rashji Mackey and Thorn Demeritte will compete in men’s freestyle wrestling for The Bahamas.