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Faltering Jamaicans give Bolt the Commonwealth blues

Shaunae Miller-Uibo set a new Games record in the women’s 200m. © AFP / Adrian DENNIS

GOLD COAST, Australia, Apr 12 – Even the presence of sprint legend Usain Bolt failed to inspire Jamaica’s track athletes at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday as they suffered another beating in the women’s 200 metres.

As Bolt looked on from the VIP seats in his new ambassadorial role, double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson failed even to medal, adding to Jamaica’s troubles on the Gold Coast after missing out on both 100m titles.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo romped to victory for the Bahamas in the women’s 200m in a new Games record of 22.09 to further darken Bolt’s mood after Yohan Blake’s 100m flop on Monday, when he had to settle for bronze.

Miller-Uibo was presented her gold medal by none other than Bolt, the eight-time Olympic champion.

“It’s a pleasure getting it from a great like him,” Miller-Uibo told reporters.

“Me and Elaine, we compete a lot and she always brings her A-game. I think we put on a great show.”

Shericka Jackson did at least take silver for Jamaica behind Miller-Uibo as England’s Dina Asher-Smith pipped Thompson for the bronze.

But Miller-Uibo, who bagged gold in the 400m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, proved a cut above and powered away in the final third of the race to take the title.

“I’m not sure what happened,” shrugged Thompson. “There’s nobody that doesn’t want to chase a double Olympic champion because everybody’s fit, everybody’s hungry and everybody wants a medal.”

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There was some consolation for Jamaica, however, as Janieve Russell won the women’s 400m gold in 54.33, more than half-a-second clear of Scotland’s Eilidh Doyle, who took silver for the third successive Commonwealth Games.

It was only Jamaica’s third track gold after Ronald Levy won the men’s 110 metres hurdles and Aisha Praught-Leer made off with the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase crown.

– Hughes stripped –

Bolt also watched forlornly as Jamaica well outside the medals in a controversial men’s 200m final.

England’s Zharnel Hughes appeared to have beaten Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards in a photo finish, only to be dramatically stripped of the gold moments later for impeding him.

Replays showed Hughes catching Richards in the face with his left hand, causing his opponent to stumble.

Earlier, Kyron McMaster won an emotional first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medal for the British Virgin Islands in the men’s 400m hurdles, seven months after his coach was killed by Hurricane Irma.

The 21-year-old clocked 48.25 with Jeffery Gibson of the Bahamas taking silver and Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde bronze.

“Tonight the gold meant a lot for the country,” said McMaster, who survived the deadly hurricane and has a tattoo dedicated to former coach Xavier Samuels on his left arm.

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“I have him with me everywhere I go… I’ve learnt not to take life for granted because at any moment stuff could happen.”

Wycliffe Kinyamal won the first gold medal of the Games for Kenya, who were top of the athletics table in 2014, after winning the men’s 800m race in 1:45.11.

Elsewhere at the Commonwealth Games, England’s Olympic gold medallist Jack Laugher made it two gold medals in two days when he won the three-metre springboard diving.

Annie Last also captured gold for England in the women’s mountain biking as former wrestling world champion Sushil Kumar struck completed a Games hat-trick by beating South Africa’s Johannes Botha to win the 74kg category.

Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann won the inaugural men’s beach volleyball title for Australia but Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan prevented a double for the hosts by snatching gold in the women’s final.

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