Sports is certainly an endeavour filled with glorious uncertainities as evidenced by the fortunes of Team SVG at the XIX Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010.
Thursday 7 th October 2010 was a day when circumstances and history came together for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Natasha Mayers. Having faced some uphill battles at the peak of her career, being banned and therefore unable to achieve to her talent and promise, Natasha Mayers proved without doubt that perseverance, commitment, love of country and a sense of history can make small men into giants – in this case woman. She came to this XIX Commonwealth Games with something to prove; she came hungry. This was evident from the gun of the first qualifying heat on Wednesday 6th October when she stamped her authority on the first of five qualifying heats signalling her intent with an 11.33 run; leaving the field with the fastest qualifying time of all five heats. It was however clear that the field had no intention of handing her anything on a platter – they were at Delhi 2010 for the very same reason. But for Natasha everything had come together with an excellent start.
It was not as easy for the semifinals as the competitors took the challenge to her. But Natasha again rose to the mark and fought off the challengers, with determination. Unlike the first heat where she had an excelllent start and was able to run 80m and slowed for the remaining 20, her start in the semifinal was not as clinical and she had to step up once again to win her heat in 11.38.
The final was one of drama and frustration. The drama started with a false start and the wrongful identification of Laura Turner, the English athlete as the guilty party. She protested, argung that it was not her; that she was being falsely punished. Keen observers of the start as shown on the television screens at the Jawaharlala Nehru Stadium were of the view that Australian athlete, Sally Pearson, positioned next to Natasha, was the one who had actually false started. Recalcitrance on the part of the Indian officials (maybe) and procrastrination (most certainly) saw the matter being unresolved and the English athlete invoked her right to run under protest. As circumstances will have it, Pearson ripped the field with an 11.28, followed by Osayemi Oludamola (11.32) of Nigeria and Natasha Mayers (11.37) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Subsequently, an official protest from the English team saw Perason being disqualified. Oludamola was then elevated to first with Mayers and Katherine Endacott another English athlete being elevated to second and third respectively.
Undoubtedly, this diminunitive Vincy lass stood tall among the best after a bad start (occassioned by a false start and a track dispute). She has certainly done her part, and have placed St. Vincent and the Grenadines once again on the medal podium of the Commonwealth Games after a medal drought of 20 years.