National sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye created history yesterday when she won this country’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games with a stunning performance in the Women’s 100m final at the Carrara Stadium, Gold Coast, Australia.
Running in lane four, Michelle-Lee clocked a time of 11.14 seconds to win gold, becoming the first female sprint medal at the event. It was also the first gold medal for this country at the Commonwealth Games in 20 years. (The last time this country won Gold at the Commonwealth was in 1998 when Ato Boldon won the 100 metre sprint.)
The race which ran at around 7.30 am local time yesterday was witnessed by Michelle-Lee’s mother, Raquel, at her Haig Street, Carenage home. “It felt wonderful this feeling will never leave meh, to see all the hard work she put out is really nice,” Raquel said.
Beaming with pride, Raquel told Guardian Media that she watched the race with her mother and her sister and they could not contain themselves when Michelle-Lee won the race.
“That hour of the morning we jump up and get on. We ran outside and say we win a gold medal.”
Their shouts of joy resonated in the community. Up to late yesterday when she spoke with the Guardian Media, Raquel said “my mother and sister can’t catch themselves yet,” she said laughing.
Raquel said as the “first female athlete to bring something to Trinidad it was wonderful, is just wonderful.”
She spoke to her daughter briefly but said “everybody keeps calling her in Australia. We did not get to talk good yet. Maybe after the medal ceremony when she has time she will call me.”
Michelle-Lee celebrates her 26th birthday today.
She tweeted on her twitter account “It’s my birthday in Australia happy birthday to me!”
Her mother said the win was as great a blessing as Michelle-Lee, who is an only child.
“I feel great, this is one miracle I live to see,” she said.
But it will be some time before the family sees the gold medal or celebrates Michelle-Lee’s victory.
That’s because Michelle-Lee is “going on a world tour soon after. She has Diamond League meets this year and may not return home until December.”
That’s when her mom said they celebrate her victory. It will be up to Michelle-Lee, she said, to hold talks with the Government on whether anything should be done in her honour.
“She is a very quiet person, so it’s up to her to speak with them,” her mother said.
Michelle-Lee, according to her mother, “always liked sports, she is a sports person. She has been in athletics since the age of seven. Nineteen years later she created history by winning gold for T&T.
Her mother is now expecting big things not just at the Diamond League meets but also at the 2020 Olympics.
Michelle-Lee trains in Austin, Texas where her mother said the coaches “don’t make joke.”
“When they come out their house and say you have to come out to train, you have to train, it could be what kind of weather, you have to train. They train from six o’clock in the morning and from training you have to go to the gym. The training out there and here it totally different.”
Raquel said she visits her daughter often but because of her training schedule and her meets, it’s hard to see her more often.
“I was up there in December, but I just want her to focus, so I remain in the back.”
Michelle-Lee’s mother said her daughter is an inspiration to her nephews and nieces, who like her, have a deep interest in sports.
One niece who attends the St Catherine’s school on Duke Street in Port-of-Spain is already winning “trophies in gymnastics,” and she has two nephews playing sports in the United States.
Raquel said the joy she felt yesterday will stay with her forever. To T&T, her message was simple: “thank you for all the support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” she said.