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.”