Alfred cops St Lucia's first ever global gold medal; McDonald secures another bronze for Jamaica

By March 02, 2024
St Lucia's Julien Alfred (left) and Rusheen McDonald St Lucia's Julien Alfred (left) and Rusheen McDonald

Julien Alfred secured St Lucia’s first ever global gold medal, when she topped the women’s 60m final in a world lead equalling 6.98s, to fittingly bring the curtains down on day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.

Alfred, who has a personal best of 6.94s, was always expected to continue her rich vein of form with a podium finish, but her gold medal prospects improved even more when her main rival Aleia Hobbs of the United States pulled out of the final with an injury.

Still, the 22-year-old Alfred showed her class, as she burst through the middle of Poland’s Ewa Swoboda (7.00s) and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso (7.05s), to finish tops.

"It feels good, I don't know how they are behaving right now, but I am sure they are happy. I have been working hard for such a long time to come out here and give my country their first ever gold medal and I am so happy, overwhelmed and ecstatic right now," Alfred said shortly after the race.

St Lucia’s Minister of Sport Kenson Casimir congratulated Alfred on the feat which has given the Eastern Caribbean Island much to celebrate.

“St Lucia's first ever global medallist in any sporting event and I think what makes it even more special is the fact that it is a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. Of course, we are so proud, our entire nation is so proud. Of course, when you've won a medal, they say St Lucia wins it, so I can see every single individual really, really enjoying what we just witnessed today,” Casimir told SportsMax.TV.

“Of course, I want to say congratulations to her family, Julian is somebody from humble, humble, humble beginnings from Castries, St Lucia, and she's doing so well, and we just look forward to even bigger and better things later on this year at the Olympic Games,” he added.

On that note, Casimir declared his government’s intentions to continue throwing the necessary support behind Alfred as she continues to progress in her budding career.

“We certainly believe that there's more to come from Julien. She is young. She has worked really hard her entire life from coming from the Leon Hess comprehensive secondary school and going over to high school in Jamaica and then later on to Texas.

“She has really worked extremely hard and so as a government, we continue to put our resources behind her as she has transitioned so effectively into being a professional. And of course, with Coach Flo behind her from the University of Texas, we only expect bigger and better things from Julien Alfred,” he shared.

Earlier, Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald clocked a new personal best 45.65s for bronze in the men’s 400m.

McDonald produced his usual late burst to secure his first ever indoor medal, and in the process became the first ever global male 400m medallist for coach Stephen Francis.

The event was won by Belgium’s Alexander Doom in a new national record 45.25s, ahead of World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm, who clocked a season’s best 45.34s.

McDonald's bronze is Jamaica's third at the Championships, as Ackeem Blake and Carey McLeod, also won bronze in the men's 60m and long jump respectively.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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