Praught-Leer wins historic 3000m steeplechase gold at Commonwealth Games

Aisha Praught-Leer has described her historic 3000m metre steeplechase gold medal run as “an amazing experience” as Jamaica secured three more medals on day 7 of competition at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on Wednesday. The 28 year old Praught-Leer became Jamaica's first ever gold medalist at a championship in the event when she stopped the clock at a world-leading 9 minutes, 21 seconds ahead of the Kenyan pair of Celliphine Cespol and Purity Kirui. 

She was Jamaica's only gold medallist on the day as Stephenie McPherson failed to defend her title in the 400 metres, fading to third behind Botswana's 2011 world champion Amantle Montsho. McPherson's Jamaican teammate Anastasia Leroy took the silver in the event in a personal-best 50.57 seconds, with Montsho clocking 50.15 and McPherson crossing the line in 50.93. 

In the men's long jump final, Tajay Gayle with a personal best of 8.12m was 4th while team-mate Damar Forbes ended 11th with 7.88m. Meanwhile, Jamaica will have three ladies in the women's 200m final on Thursday morning but one on athlete in the men's championship race.

Shericka Jackson posted a personal best 22.28 sec to lead all competitors into the final. Jackson will be joined by team-mates Elaine Thompson and Shashalee Forbes in the championship race. Thompson who posted 22.95 seconds, finished second behind Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo in 22.48 seconds.

Forbes was also second in semi-final 2 as she posted 22.93 seconds. In the men's event weir's 20.62 was good enough for fourth in semi-final one which was won by Canadian Aaron Brown in 20.18 seconds. 2014 winner Rasheed Dwyer was a disappointing 5th in semi-final 3 in 20.82 seconds. Jamaica's other competitor Kenroy Anderson was disqualified from his race.

The women's 400m hurdles final with Ristananna Tracey, Janieve Russell and Ronda Whyte, as well as the men's equivalent with Jaheel Hyde and Andre Clarke are also down to be contest on Thursday morning Jamaica time. Jamaica was eliminated from the men’s doubles round of 32 in table tennis at the as the duo of Simon Tomlinson and Kane Watson lost 11-3, 11-6, 11-6 to the Nigerian team of Quadri Aruna and Segun Toriola. 

With this result, it ends Jamaica's participation in this sport in the Commonwealth Games after both Tomlinson and Watson lost their first game in the singles tournament on Tuesday. Tomlinson lost in seven games 4-3 to Sri Lanka's Buwaneka Jayasingha while Watson fell 4-2 to Malaysia's Muhammed Ashraf.

Jamaica's Yona Knight-Wisdom finished one place better than 2014 but still placed just outside the medals in the men's 1m springboard diving competition. Wisdom total 388.65 points after six rounds to finish 5th. Knight-Wisdom will now contest the 3m springboard on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sunshine Girls coach Shasher-Gaye Henry attributed a slow start to the Jamaican's 51-72 defeat to Australia in their final group game at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday morning. The Jamaican's who were losing their first game of the tournament scored just 14 goals in the first quarter compared to Australia's 21. The other quarterly scores were 15-15, 19-9 and 17-13 in favor of the hosts.

The team also had 14 turnovers which henry highlighted as a main area of concern. Captain Jhaniele Fowler-Reid was the top scorer for Jamaica, netting 30 goals from 32 attempts. The Jamaicans will next play England in the semi-finals on Saturday. Jamaica's medal tally at the Games now stands at 12 with 3 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze.


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