Saint Lucia’s Men’s 4x100m Relay Team placed fifth in the Men’s 4x100m Final on Sunday at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The quartet of Delan Edward, Lenyn Leonce, Michael Joseph and Stephan Charles clocked 40.17s, just ahead of sixth-placers The Gambia (40.18s).
The top three placers in Sunday’s Final were England (38.35s), Trinidad and Tobago (38.70s) and Nigeria (38.81s). Guyana placed fourth with 40.05s, while Singapore placed seventh (40.24s) and Kenya did not finish.
This was the first time that Saint Lucia fielded a Men’s 4x100m Relay Team at the Commonwealth Games.
On Saturday, the Saint Lucian Relay Team ran a record-breaking 39.96s in the Men’s 4x100m Relay – Round 1 Heat 2, finishing fourth, smashing the previous National Record, which stood at 40.96s.
Speaking after Sunday’s Men’s 4x100m Relay Final, Team Captain, Lenyn Leonce, said: “It was a good race. Again, we had struggles with the baton for the second to the third exchange; it’s just something that we have to work on, but my teammates and I are satisfied. We’ve made it to the Final and placed fifth in the Final and we just have to work from there.”
Meanwhile Athletics Team Coach, Makeba Alcide, said: “I am really proud of the guys. We finished fifth overall with 40.17s, which is not the National Record they wanted to go for. They ran the National Record in the Semifinals, but had fifth place at the Commonwealth Games (Final). That’s huge for us. We could have done a lot better, but we’re thankful for the fifth place. I mean, our hand-offs, we still need to do a lot of work (and) the guys need to continue with the chemistry they have. They’re a young group of guys, so we’re just hoping they can stay together and will continue to get more experience in the 4x100m.”
Also on Saturday evening, pole vaulter Micky Ferdinand made an early exit in the Men’s Pole Vault Final after failing to make a mark in his initial attempts.
Despite his best hopes for a medal on the day, Ferdinand later expressed that he had trouble using the poles. He also noted that lack of adequate practice at the tournament due to circumstances beyond his control was another factor in his performance. However, he plans to rebound better in future competitions.
Sunday’s posting by the Men’s 4x100m Relay Team capped off an outstanding overall performance by Team Saint Lucia at the Commonwealth Games. Thirteen athletes represented the island in Birmingham, with sprint star Julien Alfred winning a silver medal in the Women’s 100m Final on August 3. 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.
Team Saint Lucia’s Chef de Mission, Joyce Huxley, said: “What a great finish to the Games for Team Saint Lucia! While the relay team comprising Michael, Delan, Lenyn and Stephan was very happy with their eighth place in the Prelims on Saturday, they were even more delighted with their incredible fifth place finish in Sunday’s final. Each of the relay team members had already performed well, reaching semifinals in their individual events, and were able to work together for this historic result on the final day of competition.”
She added: “The highlight of the Games has, of course, been Julien Alfred’s silver medal in the Women’s 100m, a remarkable performance at the end of a long and intense season of competition for this rising star in the Athletics arena. But we have also witnessed strong performance in Swimming, Table Tennis and Boxing.
“This event has been an amazing experience for all concerned. The logistics have been challenging, with the athletes and officials spread over two Athlete Villages located almost an hour apart, but the army of cheerful volunteers and official Games personnel have ensured that everything went as smoothly as possible — in accommodation services, catering, transport, venues, gyms, medical clinics, and sports facilities. The team members have been very comfortable in their residences, and had a wide range of options for well-prepared meals at various locations throughout the Villages. With basic needs and training venues taken care of, the athletes were able to focus on their training and events.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to be a part of this amazing team of athletes and officials here in Birmingham. Everyone has been very positive and upbeat, the athletes have been totally focused on performing at their best, and every one of them is leaving Birmingham with firm goals in mind for the future, we can expect even more from these athletes over the next few years.”