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October 12, 2010
Double twist may give Natasha 100m win

In a dramatic twist of events, Vincentian sprinter Natasha Mayers could be handed gold tomorrow in the 100 metres women’s event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.{{more}}

Last Thursday, Mayers went from the pit to the podium when she claimed silver medal in the women’s 100 metres race at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Dehli, India, after crossing the finish line in 11.37 seconds.

But the race was mired in controversy, after Australian Sally Pearson was disqualified after initially crossing the line first and being declared winner.She was told of her disqualification for a false start as she was preparing to collect her medal.

England team officials protested and the result of the race was reversed, giving the second placed Osayemi Oludamola of Nigeria gold in 11.32 seconds. Mayers, who actually finished third, was elevated to second, while Britain’s Katherine Endacott, who clocked 11.44 seconds, was given the bronze.

Sporting enthusiasts around the world awoke to the shocking news yesterday morning that Oludamola had failed a drugs test, testing positive for a banned stimulant called methylhexaneamine, which has only recently been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.

She has been provisionally suspended until the result of her B sample is received tomorrow.If the B sample proves positive, Mayers would be handed the gold, which would be the country’s second ever Commonwealth gold medal.

General Secretary of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee, Keith Joseph, noted that in 1974 in Christ Church New Zealand, Frankie Lucas, a Vincentian resident in the United Kingdom decided to represent St.Vincent and the Grenadines at the Commonwealth Games. He competed in the Middleweight Division (75kg) in Boxing and won the event, giving this country its first and only opportunity to date to mount the podium at the Commonwealth Games to receive a gold medal.

But for now it’s a case of a silver lining for Mayers, who experienced some dark clouds in her career when she was banned in 2005 after a test showed a level of testosterone close to nine – more than twice the legal amount permitted in the body.

For her transgression, Mayers was slapped with a two year ban, which ended in 2007.

Mayers, now 31, was this country’s 2004 Sports Personality of the Year.

With a blooming career then, Mayers was ranked 11th in the world at one stage, reaching the quarter- final round in the 100 metres at the 28th Olympic Games, held in Athens, Greece, in 2004, but an injury forced her out of the next round of competition.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Mayers did not advance past the heats, and at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, she advanced to the semi-finals before being eliminated, finishing seventh in the semi-final with a time of 11.35

Mayers, originally from Mt. Pleasant Mesopotamia, was the California Junior College Athlete of the Year in 2000 and 2001 while attending L.A. Southwest College. She ran a wind-aided 11.01 seconds in the 100 metres, with a legal best of 11.12 seconds in the same event and 22.91 in the 200 metres.

She was the NCAA 2002 champion in the 200 metres.

Last week Mayers joined other Vincentians who have medalled at the Games.

George Manners won a bronze medal in Weight Lifting in the Middle Heavy Weight category at the 1970 Games held in Edinburgh Scotland, then referred to as the British Commonwealth Games.

Donna Fraser, who is of Vincentian parentage, gained bronze medals in the 400 m and 4 x 100m Relay for England at the Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia Games.

Shani Anderson, who was born here, obtained a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres at the 2002 Games in Manchester for her adopted homeland, England. (RT)