Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Throwers making some noise

Published:Monday | July 28, 2014 | 7:00 AM

GLASGOW, Scotland:

Raymond Brown had just committed his second straight foul in his shot put qualifying series inside Glasgow's Hampden Park.

It was not looking like it would be a happy return to the Commonwealth Games for the 26-year-old, who qualified for the final four years ago in Delhi.

Already qualified for today's medal round, O'Dayne Richards, who hurled the shot put 20.24m - for the second-best mark in qualifying - walked across to his countryman, a hand on his shoulder, a word of encouragement in his ear.

"Come on, Raymond, you have this."

Jamaica's two shot putters here in Glasgow are at the forefront of a tide of promise and development that is sweeping across the athletics programme of the country, which is more celebrated for its explosiveness in the sprints.

Brown, galvanised by his comrade's uplifting, found enough in his last attempt - 18.11m - way off his best, but it did the job, as he booked his spot in the final for another shot at a medal.

RISING STANDARDS

The pair are well aware that they are flying under the radar, away from the flashing cameras and loud cheers that greet everyone in a golden Jamaican track vest on the track. Despite that, they are determined to make their mark, continue the development of Jamaican throws and perhaps turn a few more lenses in their direction.

"The standard of throwing is lifting slowly but surely in Jamaica, and we the throwers are going to work until we are impossible to be ignored," said Richards, who walks into this championships with a big reputation.

Richards' throw is the best by a Jamaican at the Commonwealth Games and was the second best in the history of Common-wealth Games shot put qualifying, bettered only by Tom Walsh's (New Zealand) Games-record hurl of 21.24m yesterday.

He currently has a personal best of 21.11, achieved earlier this year at the Jamaica Invitational.

"That throw started from September last year in preparation, and my experiences throughout the year have taught me a lot as well, so what you saw here today was the polished product," added Richards, a computing student at the University of Technology. "I'm very excited; my first Commonwealth Games, first final, I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing what happens in the final."

motivation

Brown was thankful for his friend's timely words and is looking to make the most of his opportunity.

"I'm feeling really good right now; the first throw was off, I fouled late. The second one, when I was going for it, I clipped the toe board, didn't follow through the right way, so the third one, O'Dayne (Richards) was talking to me and encouraging me, and that really helped," Brown said.

"I'm looking forward to the final tomorrow. I know I will have to make some improvements. In the middle of my throw, I'm putting down my left foot too slowly, so I will try and improve that and chase as hard as I can," he promised.

Brown has a personal and season best of 20.35m and is in with a shot of medalling as well.

"I'm excited because this is my second Commonwealth Games and my second final, and I'll be ready tomorrow (today)," said Brown.

Jamaica have twice won shot put medals at the Commonwealth Games, through Dorian Scott, who win silver medals in Mebourne (2006) and Delhi (2010), and may add to that tally today.

Jamaica - the throws capital of the world? It's a stretch, but 'Throws capital of the Commonwealth' wouldn't be a bad start.

- André Lowe