Banana Ground glory - Elaine Thompson brings joy to home town
Banana Ground, Manchester:
Joy filled the air in Banana Ground, Manchester yesterday as family members of 200-metre silver medallist Elaine Thompson celebrated her performance at the IAAF World Championships thousands of miles away in Beijing, China.
Among those who could not contain their excitement was Thompson's grandmother, Gloria Thompson.
"Yes, Becky! Run, Becky! Yes, mi baby!" she screamed as the sprinter powered down the track with her biggest competitor hot on her heels.
"That is my girl and this is only the start of it. You nuh see nutin yet. Vinnette, as I always call her, or Becky, always active and always involve herself, and that is the reason she is here today."
Thompson has cared for her granddaughter since she was seven months old. "She is 23 years old, and as old as she be, she has the respect and humility of a child. She always saying, 'God bless me two mawga foot dem', and God is really blessing. She is the only child for her mother and me tell her all the while that she will be the one to take her mother out of poverty. She is a God-blessed girl."
She added: "There is nothing too great for Elaine. I would give her the world. Yesterday, me start paint up so when she come the place look nice. When she was young and she went to school, she come home and get her nice dinner even if I had to borrow the money. When me a go trust mi furniture them, Vinnette and mi other grandchild was there 'cause if they don't like it, den mi nah buy it, and now that she grow up so nice and when she come with her medals and put them up in the house, me just feel good. Mi proud, man!"
From Garlogie Primary to Christiana High, then Manchester High, and now in her third year at the University of Technology, Thompson has never left her family behind and maintains near-constant communication with them.
"She love dress up, you see. She love go out, but when she come down here, she nah leave out Mama. All the other day she come in from gym tired and she call me and we deh pon di phone so long. My girl dat!"
She further stated: "Me happy she is in the company of Shelly (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) 'cause mi spirit just take that girl and mi just love her. Mi always ask fi Shelly and ask Becky if she talk to her."
The Gleaner also caught up with Elaine's father, Keith Thompson, at his barber shop in the area.
"I am so happy for her. I wasn't nervous when I saw the race. She did well, but that Netherlands girl, she nah joke. I know the future is bright for Elaine. I spoke to her last night and she say, 'Dad, mi good, man'. I'm looking forward to Olympics now," he said.