Photo: Gabrielle Bailey of St. Jago High and Danielle Bailey of Immacualte Conception bioth won gold medals in the field on day two of Champs.
Danielle Sloley of Immaculate Conception High and Gabrielle Bailey of St. Jago High and both overcame the odds to win gold on day two of the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys & Girls Athletics Championships on Wednesday inside the National Stadium. Sloley retained her Class Two Girls Shot Put title with a record breaking performance, after a very ordinary season which left many people doubting her chances of coming good this year, while Bailey overcame the defending champion Fiona Richards in the Class One Girls Discus final.
A year ago Sloley had won gold with her final throw of the competition to become the first athlete from Immaculate Conception High to do so in the field at Champs. After battling injury all season, the sixth form student was not even considered a medal contender.
However just as she did last year, Sloley summoned up the strength to go big on the last throw and with a mighty heave of the shot put set a new record of 15.99m to win by more than a meter and repeat as champion, thus underscoring her pedigree in the event. Sloley erased the old mark of 15.93m that was held by Rochelle Frazer since 2013. Marie Forbes of Vere Technical produced a best effort of 14.79m for silver while Aliesha Shaw of Rusea’s High took bronze with 14.65m.
For Sloley, this win was dedicated to those who believed in her.
“Really it wasn’t about proving anything to anybody else but myself and to my teammates and to God and all my supporters that they have a reason to believe in me. So everybody else who doubted me, I said that’s perfectly fine for them but the people who I know, knew I could do it, they had my best interest at heart and they have always been supporting me.”
Bailey has been in the shadow of Richards for a while and despite getting the better of the Edwin Allen star at the Central Champs last month, was still not expected to win gold, especially since Richards had turned the tables at the Digicel Grand Prix final, just ahead of champs.
But when it mattered most Bailey produced the goods as she delivered a throw of 48.93m for gold, with Richards having to settle for silver with 48.06m. Shamella Donaldson of Rusea’s High finished third with a best throw of 47.33m.
Bailey said it was her responsibility to lead from the front despite the wet conditions which made it difficult for the throwers.
“Most definitely it feels great because as a captain I was expected to come out here and get the nine points and despite the fact that the rain had fallen I never let it hinder the process. After all I just put all my trust in God and just kept my composure and at the end of the day I came out with the victory.”
Both athletes will now turn their attention to their other disciplines in the field as they try to earn more points for their respective schools.
Interestingly, Rusea’s High leads on the Girls’ side of champs after day two with a total of 16 points. The two gold medalists, by virtue of their wins, have put their respective schools, Immaculate and St. Jago, joint second on 9 points, while defending champions Edwin Allen and former champions Holmwood Technical are joint fourth on 8 points.