By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Kyron McMaster ran a measured race to become the first Commonwealth Games 400m Hurdles repeat champion in 52 years at the Games in Birmingham, England, covering the 10 barriers around the oval in 48.93 seconds on Saturday.
Eldred Henry was a Shot Put finalist and Rikkoi Brathwaite and Beyonce DeFreitas were 100/200m semifinalists.
McMaster described the victory as “significant.” “I think my country wanted it more than me this trip, my family, my friends,” he said. “For me, I just wanted to get through injury free. That was the biggest thing for me. I couldn’t run as hard from the start as I usually do, so I knew I had to run it strategically, rather than how I wanted to run. I wasn’t pressed about what time I wanted to run. I was more concerned about finishing with an injury free race.”
Resorting to tactics rather than speed or aggressiveness because of injury, laid off the pace of Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde, who won silver in 49.78 seconds. Hyde, who claimed the 2016 World Athletics U20 Championships gold with McMaster snatching bronze, edged McMaster 49.60-49.78 in the prelims.
As it was his first post Worlds race, the two times Commonwealth champ said that in the semifinal, he pushed it a little in the beginning to see what his hamstring could handle.
“I was basically trying to stress train it, so coming into the final, it was just to go out there, run a very smart strategic race to try and contest the medal and at the same time, finish injury free,” he said while thanking BVI fans for their support. “I know you look at me and want more. I know you want to see me contesting against (Karsten) Warholm, (Rai) Benjamin and (Allison) dos Santos. It’s coming. Just be patient like I’m being patient. Barring injuries, that is the focus—to get on the podium for Worlds and the Olympics—not just Commonwealth Games. So just stick with me. Trust in me and we’ll be there.”
After advancing in his last outing, McMaster withdrew from July 17 World Athletics Championships 400m Hurdles semi final because of a hamstring injury, to rehabilitate and prepare for his title defense.
McMaster said he spent the time between Worlds and Commonwealth rehabbing, and did a lot of strength work ensuring he could defend the title. “I wanted to be able to contest the medal at World Championships but wasn’t 100%–the leg was not allowing me to be 100%–so after realizing that, the focus was switched to getting healthy and finishing out the season as healthy as possible, rather than trying to injure myself more,” he said.
Henry, coming off injuries and in his first championship since the 2019 Pan Am Games, finished fifth with a season’s best heave of 19.97m (65’6¼”), while Djimon Gumbs was 10th with 17.18m (56’4½”)—marking the first time BVI had two competitors in a major event. Gumbs threw a non-advancing 53.32m (174’11½”) in the Discus.
“It wasn’t the result I wanted but I’ve been making my way back since the injury that had me pulled out of the Tokyo Olympic Games, I’ve been taking my time, while working through the injury and training,” Henry said. “This is actually my third meet for the outdoor season. Not the result I wanted but I’ll take it back to the drawing board. Ultimately, I have to be thankful because this year has been a long challenging year. Aside from dealing with the injuries, new training program, switching up coaching, getting into a new group, I honestly can’t complain. I knew that I’d have to take a step back before I could have taken the major step forward. But, at the end of the day, I’m my harshest critic.”
Brathwaite was fourth in his 100m semi in 10.31 seconds after equaling his personal best of 10.28 in the prelims. DeFreitas finished sixth in the 200m semi, in 23.81 seconds after advancing with 23.99. Deya Erickson was fifth in her 100m Hurdles prelim in 13.94 seconds, while Trevia Gumbs missed the Shot Put final with a 13.27m (43’6½”) mark. Twin sister Tynelle recorded 46.50m (153’10½”) in Hammer Throw qualifying. Adriano Gumbs ran 48.87 seconds in the 400m.
The Women’s 3×3 Basketball team of Joy Victor, Shaliquah Fahie, Makhyla Pickering and Keithrece Smith, lost 22-6, 22-5 and 19-5 losses to Canada, England and New Zealand.
Joe Chapman and Luca Reich lost 3-0 in their respective Squash singles and 2-0 in the men’s doubles.
Cyclists Sam Talbot and Darel Christopher Jr., wrapped up BVI participation on Sunday when they were pulled from the 100 miles road race, after finishing the 23 miles time trial in 37th (56:06) and 41st, (58:06) respectively.