Sports

Mixed Fortunes for Team Saint Lucia at Commonwealth Games

Three Saint Lucian athletes competed on Sunday at the Commonwealth Games now on in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Mikaili Charlemagne and Jayhan Odlum-Smith with Hon. Kenson Casimir, Minister for Sports.

In the morning session, swimmers Jayhan Odlum-Smith and Mikaili Charlemagne swam one Heat each at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre.

Having missed the chance to compete on Friday due to testing positive for COVID-19, Odlum-Smith was declared fit enough to compete in his final event of the tournament, the Men’s 100m Freestyle. He placed sixth in the Heat and 40th overall, with a time of 53.04 seconds, missing the semifinal round.

“I was very excited and happy I got a chance to represent my country yesterday,” Odlum-Smith said on Monday. “I gave all my effort in my swim, but didn’t achieve what I wanted due to the circumstance. But, moving forward, (and) going back to the drawing board, there is great room for improvement.”

Odlum-Smith, 20, who has had an impressive season, also thanked everyone who has supported him in his outing at the Games.

Charlemagne placed third in her Heat with a time of 28.48 seconds in the Women’s 50m Freestyle Butterfly, setting a new National Record. However, she placed 26th overall, and failed to secure a spot in the semifinals.

Charlemagne’s new National Record on Sunday came a day after she set a new National Record in the Women’s 50m Freestyle with a time of 26.75 seconds, shattering her previous personal best of 26.99 seconds.

Kyghan Mortley

Middleweight boxer Mortley lost his opening bout to Sam Hickey of Scotland on Sunday afternoon at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). After falling victim to a one-point deduction for holding, Mortley would lose the bout to Hickey on a unanimous decision. All judges scored the fight 30-26.

Boxing coach, Conrad Fredericks, said Mortley didn’t fight according to the game plan.

“He didn’t fight like he was trained to fight,” Fredericks said. “He was slow and without rhythm, and the coordination was very bad. He wasn’t focused.”

Fredericks stated that Mortley is a much better fighter than his performance on Sunday, adding that “for the past few months, he’s not been generating the power, energy and focus he needs”. However, Fredericks said there’s more to come from Mortley in the coming years.

“Kyghan is a very good fighter and we wish him the best in the future,” said Fredericks. “He has a lot more to go. He’s just 28 years old.”

Meanwhile, Mortley said that while things didn’t go his way on Sunday against the 22-year-old Hickey, he was happy that he was more confident in the bout, thanks to a one-month training camp in the United Kingdom immediately before the Games started.

“I came in there focused, I came in there to win, and I came in there to give it my all,” Mortley said. “I tried to be the fighter who brought the fight to him. I tried to be much more aggressive in this fight, considering my performance in the last competition.”

Conrad Fredericks

Mortley’s last competitive bout was on March 25 this year against Colombia’s Alexander Rangel Madariaga, to whom he lost in his preliminary bout at the AMBC Elite Men &Women Continental Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In that bout, he fought in the light middleweight division. Despite Mortley putting up a strong defense in that Ecuador bout, the judges favoured the more aggressive Rangel with a 5-0 decision, with all five judges scoring the fight 30-27.

Mortley has competed in the Creole Boxing Championships, capturing three gold medals in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He won a silver medal at the OECS Boxing Championships in the welterweight division, and also competed in many invitational tournaments regionally.

“I wanted to really show that I’ve made great improvements, but it just didn’t go my way,” he said. “There were times when the guy was beating me to the punch. But I really went out there and tried to bring the fight to him, but it just wasn’t in my favour.”

Mortley, who goes by the moniker, “The Hitman”, added: “I got a point deduction for holding, but nobody likes getting hit, and I was doing what I felt was necessary at the time to prevent myself from getting hit. But I’ll have to work on that as well. Moving forward, I’ll be back in the gym and back to the training regimen. We’ll change up a couple of things and work on what needs to be worked on. Everything is a learning process and Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’ll just continue to strive to reach for that greatness.”

Arthur Langelier

Light heavyweight boxer, Arthur Langelier, scored a walkover victory on Monday when his opponent, Leatialii Afoa, of Tuvalu, decided to forego the bout. Langelier, who previously picked up a bye in the draw, now advances to the quarterfinals, and will meet his next opponent on Wednesday.

“I’m just proud and overwhelmed going into the round of eight,” Langelier said on Monday afternoon. “Right now, I’m just hyped up and ready to go for the next bout.”

Team Saint Lucia’s quest for success at the Commonwealth Games continues on Tuesday, August 2, as sprinters Julien Alfred, Stephan Charles and Delan Edwin compete in 100m Heats from 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2. That’s 5:00 am Saint Lucia time.

On Wednesday, August 3, Sandisha Antoine competes in the Triple Jump Qualifying Round at 10:00 a.m. (5:00 a.m. Eastern Caribbean time).

Joyce Huxley

Meanwhile, Chef de Mission, Joyce Huxley, said: “We have had an exciting few days of competition to start the Games with some highs and some lows. Jayhan was unfortunately unable to train as he was in isolation, but still gave a good performance in the 100m Freestyle on Sunday. Mikaili swam strongly in both of her swimming events, achieving two new National Records in the process. Kyghan did not compete as well as we had hoped in the Men’s Middleweight Boxing, losing his bout, but Arthur secured a walkover in the Men’s Boxing Light Heavyweight category and so he moved on to the quarter-finals.

“Swimming is now finished for our team, but Boxing is still very much in progress, and we are looking forward now to Athletics starting on Tuesday, and the Table-Tennis on Wednesday.

“The team members are all in good spirits, and there is tremendous camaraderie in the group.  All of the athletes are giving their team-mates their fullest support.  The facilities in the two Athlete Villages are top-notch, very comfortable accommodations and healthy food options are available 24 hours per day. Our team members remain focused and ready to give of their best here in Birmingham.”

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