Forty-three year old Guyanese female athlete extraordinaire, Alisha Fortune who is also known for her exploits on the body building stage has continued to show her class as a competitor on the track.
Competing in the Women Over 40 age group, the indefatigable Fortune who has not been in 100% shape still persevered to win the 200m gold and 100m silver so far at the World Masters Athletics Championships which is currently taking place at the Malaga City Athletics Stadium, Malaga, Spain.
She arrived in there on the first day of competition, September 5 and has been battling ever since to keep the Golden Arrowhead aloft despite the challenges. Fortune, who has disclosed that it is a miracle that she is in Spain and competing, largely due to the support of Fly Jamaica and some other faithful sponsors, clocked 25.77 to take 200m gold on Sunday from Great Britain’s Susie McLoughlin who had to settle for the silver (25.87) and Poland’s Malgorzata Gasowska who took the bronze in 25.97.
Fourth was the USA’s Cynthia McNamee (26.02) followed by Maren Schott (26.47) of Germany, Spain’s Angela Lopez (26.70), USA’s Cynthia Monteleone (26.83) and Sweden’s Anna Bjorkstedt who clocked 27.19.
In the semi finals, Fortune topped Heat 1 with a time of 25.73 to finish ahead of Susie McLoughlin of Great Britain (25.88), Maren Schott of Germany (26.37) and Sweden’s Anna Bjorkstedt (26.86).
Poland’s Malgorzata Gasowska won the other semi final in 26.00 from USA’s Cynthia McNamee 26.48, Spain’s Angela Lopez (26.59) and USA’s Cynthia Monteleone, 26.61, in that order.
Contesting Heat 3 of the 200m on September 7th, Fortune won in 26.60, USA’s Cynthia McNamee won Heat 1 (26.34), Malgorzata Gasowska of Poland won Heat 2 (26.88), Susie McLoughlin of Great Britain won Heat 4 (26.72) with the USA’s Cynthia Monteleone taking Heat 5 in 26.80.
In the 100m final, Fortune (12.66s) was piped to the gold medal by Jamaica’s Nadia Cunningham who won the race in 12.63s, Susie McLoughlin of Great Britain took the bronze medal in 12.75s.
Germany’s Sandra Kramer was 4th (12.76), Malgorzata Gasowska of Poland 12.76, USA’s Cynthia McNamee 12.79, Joanna Balcerzak of Poland 12.98 and Canada’s Khama Beckles 13.00, the finalists.
Fortune was the fastest in 100m first round of qualifying on the 5th winning Heat 5 in 12.46 to book her place in the semi final. Nadia Cunningham of Jamaica clocked 12.64 in Heat 2, the second best qualifying time, a total of 39 athletes were involved in the heats with the 16 advancing.
In the semi final, Fortune was again the winner of her race in 12.61 from Germany’s Sandra Kramer 12.78, Joanna Balcerzak of Poland 12.85 and Canada’s Khama Beckles in 12.99. Cunningham was the winner of her semi in 12.51; she was followed by Susie McLoughlin of Great Britain 12.67, USA’s Cynthia McNamee 12.72 and Malgorzata Gasowska of Poland who also clocked 12.72.
After yesterday’s rest day, the disciplined Fortune will now turn her attention to the 400m heats which will start today and conclude on Friday with the aim of hauling in a second gold medal. Based on her training, Fortune said she should have been doing better times but due to challenges in Spain and not being 100% she has not been able to perform even better.
She also informed that her hamstring has been acting up and she does not have a physiotherapist with her but she is still keeping the focus as she continues to make herself and country proud.
”It’s a miracle that I am at these championships and it’s also a miracle that I am able to achieve what I have been able to so far. It was tough in terms of having financial support; the back and forth running around to get sponsorship took its toll. I normally train twice a day but I had to cut that in half in order to raise funds. But I have been able to rise to the occasion and continue to make Guyana proud. I am here surviving on a shoe string budget, it’s a real challenge but I am doing the best I can.”
Fortune revealed that she was leading in the 100m final up to 95m but hadn’t the gas to pull through in the last 5m and this is due to her diet, not having the funds to eat as she is supposed to.
”I know if I had the support I would have been far ahead. I really wanted to go for the records have not been able to do so, I just have to keep pushing myself and do the best I can.”
Apart from Fly Jamaica which has been great to her, Fortune said she would like to thank God first and foremost for his blessings to her. Gratitude was also extended to her Coach Julian Edmonds, Guyana Geology and Mines, Demerara Distillers Limited, KP Thomas and Sons, Modern Optical, Kenrick Smith and Caricom Inc.
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