LIMA, Peru – The bronze medal by Tynia Gaither proved to be the one podium effort by Bahamian athletes on Friday at the National Stadium in Lima at the XVII Pan American Games.
Gaither’s third place finish in the 200 meters final produced the first medal for The Bahamas. With the high jump and the women’s 4x100 relay final to come, there was modest expectation of perhaps another medal. However, it was Tamara Myers in the triple jump, who came through with a notable performance instead, although not enough for a medal.
Yet another baton debacle did the relay women in and they did not finish. Brazil (43.04), Canada (43.37) and the United States of America (43.39) carted of the top three medals, respectively.
In the high jump, two Bahamians were entered. Former Pan Am and World champ Donald Thomas and Jamal Wilson contested the event. However, Wilson went out at the modest height of 2.10 meters and Thomas was unable to go beyond that. Obviously, Thomas is below form and needs to improve quite a bit if he is to be competitive at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Championships, which he has already qualified for. The 2.10 meters was his earliest exit in major events.
On Friday, Cuba’s Enrique Zayas won the gold with a height of 2.30 meters; Canada’s Robert Mason took the silver with jump of 2.28 meters; and Roberto Vilches of Mexico won the bronze on a countback at 2.26 meters.
Meyers though, was a pleasant surprise. She hopped, stepped and jumped a distance of 13.96 metres for fifth place in a talented field. Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela turned in a 15.11 effort for the gold; Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica was second with a 14.77 jump; Cuba’s Liadagmis Rodriguez Povea jumped 14.60; and also, ahead of the Bahamian, Myers, was Kimberley Williams of Jamaica (14.15).
Significantly, just .81 meters separated Myers from the silver medal. Being a newcomer on the continental stage, her effort was excellent and she showed the potential to move to the absolute elite stage in the immediate future.