JUST 73 days shy of her 34th birthday, Saint Lucia’s multiple Sportswoman of the Year Levern Spencer created history by being the first Saint Lucian to win the Gold Medal in the Women’s High Jump, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on Saturday 14th April 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Spencer cleared the bar at a season-best 1.95 metres, leaving Morgan Lake of the United Kingdom (1.93 metres) and Nicola McDermott of Australia (1.91 metres) to compete for the silver and bronze, respectively.
Levern had won Commonwealth Games bronze medal on two previous occasions — in New Delhi in 2010 (1.88 metres) and in Glasgow, United Kingdom in 2014 (1.92 metres).
President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee, Fortuna Belrose, in a telephone interview with the VOICE said, “I am elated, we saw it coming. Eighteen unbroken years competing for Saint Lucia — that is a remarkable feat.”
“It is true testimony of dedication, commitment, perseverance and hand work.
“Levern has sent a strong message to our young people of Saint Lucia to emulate. This latest accomplishment will go down in the history and record books of Saint Lucia,” she said.
Spencer’s local manager and church elder Gregory Dickson, who has been there throughout her career, told the VOICE, “I am little surprised, knowing that she was coming out from an injury and missed out most of last year, and the Commonwealth Games being her first outdoor championship.
“It is remarkable. Words cannot express how I feel about her accomplishment this time around. This has always been her dream — to win the Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games for Saint Lucia. But these things take time.”
Dickson said, “A lot of people did not notice she cleared 1.95 metres this year indoor and finished 4th on the IAAF list.
“Interestingly, the Commonwealth Games record is 1.96 metres. She was therefore only one centimeter shy of that record set by HestrieCloete of South Africa in Manchester, United Kingdom in 2002.”
He continued, “It’s not easy being in the Games Village for two weeks and seeing your compatriots falling by the wayside. It’s an added pressure on you, because everyone is looking forward in you producing something big when your time comes to compete.”
What next for Levern?
Dickson said,” Preparation are being made for her home-coming. I’m not sure of the actual date, but it will be sometime this week.”
Competition wise, Levern is scheduled to compete in the Drakes Relay in the USA on Saturday 28th April and the IAAF Diamond League in Beijing, China on Saturday 12 May.
Meanwhile, former Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward, said: “I didn’t stay up in vain.
“At 2a.m. Saint Lucia time, I was up to see Levern Spencer capture the gold medal in the Women’s high jump.
“This is a huge achievement for Levern Spencer and Saint Lucia. Congrats!! Well done Levern.”
Edward also spared a thought for JeanelleScheper, who competed in the final of the high jump event and finished 9th overall.