Sprint star Julien Alfred cruised her way to a silver medal in the Women’s 100m on Wednesday evening at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, United Kingdom, at this this year’s Commonwealth Games.
Having qualified for the Semifinals on Monday in a time of 11.24 seconds, Alfred won her Heat on Wednesday afternoon, posting 11.04 seconds to advance to the Finals held two hours later.
Alfred led for more than half the race and finished second in a time of 11.01 seconds, edged out by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and the fastest woman alive in the 100m, who clocked 10.95 seconds. England’s Daryll Neita picked up the bronze with a time of 11.07 seconds.
Alfred, who won gold at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, became the NCAA champion when she won the 2022 NCAA 100m race, becoming the second ever Saint Lucian athlete, after Jeanelle Scheper, to win the title. She became a two-time 2022 NCAA champion as part of the 4x100m relay team.
“I’m grateful for the support that I’ve received throughout the entire season from the people of Saint Lucia,” Alfred said late Wednesday evening following her win. “I’m just really sorry that I haven’t been able to respond to all of those messages and the posts they were making because I’m off social media. But I’m just really grateful that I have such a strong support system and I think that’s what matters most.”
She added: “My coach played a tremendous role in how I bounced back after disappointing at the World Championships. I really want to give a lot of credit to him. Though there were so many persons involved in helping me get back on my feet, Coach Edrick Floréal played such a tremendous role in helping me get back there mentally. I’m just really grateful.”
Alfred has since withdrawn from the Women’s 200m Heat which was due for 11:00 a.m. today, Thursday. She will also receive her silver medal for the Women’s 100m at the Medal Ceremony scheduled for 19:58 hrs at the Alexander Stadium.
Team Saint Lucia’s outing at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday began with news that Sandisha Antoine had advanced to the Women’s Triple Jump Finals slated for Friday after organizers decided to forego the qualifying round.
Just after noon, Michael Joseph competed in the Men’s 400m Round 1 Heat. He placed fourth in a time of 47.08 seconds. However, the lead runner was disqualified, so Joseph finished third in his Heat — an automatic qualification for the Semifinals.
Next up was light heavyweight boxer Arthur Langelier who came up against the Republic of Tanzania’s Yusuf Lucasi Changalawe at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). The bout was short-lived after the referee gave Langelier two standing eight counts in the first round, stopping the fight on the second occasion.
Langelier picked up a bye at the official draw last week and had advanced to the Quarterfinals on Monday after his opponent, Leatialii Afoa of Tuvalu, refused to fight, leaving Langelier to win by a walkover.
Also on Wednesday afternoon, DeAndre Calderon gave Jamaica’s Kane Watson a master class in table tennis at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in the Men’s Singles Group 10 Match 1. Calderon took the first three games: 11/4, 11/9 and 11/7. Watson bounced back, claiming the fourth and fifth games: 11/9 and 11/7. But the skillful teenager overpowered the older Watson in the sixth game, winning it by 11/1 to win the match. However, Calderon would later lose his next match to Malaysia’s Chee Feng Leong, who won by 4-0.
Back at the Alexander Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, Stephan Charles placed ninth in Semifinals 3 of the Men’s 100m, with 10.53 seconds, missing out on a spot in the Finals.
The long day called for something truly special and Julien Alfred delivered in great style.
On Thursday, super heavyweight boxer Leran Regis, who also drew a bye in the preliminary round, will glove up against Leuila Mau’u of New Zealand at the NEC in the evening session (21:30 hrs).
Other events for Thursday are: Lenyn Leonce will compete in Heat 5 of the Men’s 200m at 12:15 p.m. at the Alexander Stadium, while Delan Edwin will compete in Heat 8 at 12:40 p.m.
Please note that all times listed are in UK time, which are five hours ahead of Eastern Caribbean Time (ECT).
(Story updated to correct headline)
Source: Commonwealth Games (Saint Lucia). Headline photo: Stock image