Shianne grabs gold hat-trick
Bermuda’s Shianne Smith struck gold twice last night to maintain her impressive 100 percent NatWest Island Games medal-winning streak.
Smith, who has won four medals at this year’s competition — including a hat-trick of golds, won both the women's 400 metres hurdles and 200 metres at the National Sports Centre.
The 27-year-old has now medalled in 11 consecutive Island Games events, having claimed four medals in Isle of Wight in 2011 and three in Rhodes in 2007.
Adding to the javelin gold and 110 metres hurdles bronze she picked up earlier this week, Smith romped to victory in the 400 metres hurdles in a time of one minute and 1.56 seconds.
Showing no signs of tiredness, Smith returned to the track an hour later to storm to another win in the 200 metres in 24.87 to make this year’s Games her most successful yet.
“These Games have been good for me apart from the 110 metres hurdles (on Tuesday) — I wanted gold in those hurdles,” she said.
“These are my most successful Games but I can’t celebrate yet as I’ve still got the relays on Friday.”
Smith has spent the last eight months training at the esteemed Montpellier Decathlon Elite Club in France in an effort to realise her dream of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She said competing against more accomplished athletes day-in day-out had helped her grow as an athlete.
“The best thing about being in France is that all the girls I train with are better than me at the throws and the jumps,” she said.
“They are very technically sound whereas some days I get it and some days I don’t.
“The coaches and athletes in Montpellier have been very welcoming and helped with my French.
“The hardest part is that I don’t always understand fully what the coaches are asking of me although I’m slowly getting there.”
If Smith was the leading lady for Bermuda then Tre Houston was best supporting cast, grabbing gold in the men’s 200 metres to pull off a sprint double, having won the 100 metres on Tuesday.
Houston, by his own admission, hasn’t enjoyed his best season but said he felt rejuvenated this week after smashing the Games records in both his events while setting a pair of personal bests.
“This was the best way to end my season not only because of the golds but also the PBs,” said Houston, who finished in 21.05.
“Setting two Island Games records is also a big achievement for me — I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“There’s been ups and downs for me this season but they say good things develop slowly and I’m just happy to be coming along nicely.
“These Games have given me a tremendous boost. I’m going to be setting myself some big goals next season, so look out for me.”
Natasha Trott also won a medal for the Island in the women's 200 metres with a third-place finish in 25.71.
The US-based runner had flown under the Bermuda National Athletics Association radar until being approached to compete at this year’s Games.
“Bermuda didn’t really know me because I’ve been living away for seven years in West Virginia,” said the 18-year-old, who hopes to compete at next year’s Carifta Games.
“I don’t think I would have done (the Island Games) if the coaches hadn’t asked.
“But I’m starting to get more involved with Bermuda now that they know me — hopefully they will ask me more.”
The medals kept coming for Bermuda tonight with Jasmine Brunson also grabbing gold in the women's triple jump.
Brunson set a new Games record with a leap of 12.34 metres while her team-mate Akeila Richardson — competing with a stress fracture of the foot — claimed bronze with 10.56.
That Brunson decided against taking her full approach run made her gold victory all the more impressive.
“Today I didn’t go from my full approach mark as it’s the end of my season but I’m pretty happy with the end result,” said Brunson, who is coached by Bermuda triple jump legend Brian Wellman.
“I wanted to break the record and that’s what I did. It was exciting to be part of my first Island Games and I didn’t expect such a big crowd.”
It was a case of “passion overriding pain” for Richardson who was handed a pair of crutches immediately after competing.
“I didn’t jump as well as I wanted because last week I found out I had a stress fracture of the foot,” she said.
“I couldn’t really push it today but sometimes passion overrides pain. I just wanted to get out there and jump today and I did the best I could.”
Also competing for Bermuda last night was Darico Clarke who finished seventh in the men’s 400 metres final in 51.43.