Saint Lucia sprinter makes history with silver in women’s 100m at Youth Olympics
BUENOS AIRES — Julien Alfred broke into tears and covered her face in her hands after crossing the finish line to win the silver medal in the women’s 100m at the Youth Olympic Games.
The 17-year-old sprinter had just become the first athlete from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia to win a medal in any Olympic competition — an achievement she dedicated to her late father and aunt.
“Yes indeed this is a proud moment, ‘’ Alfred said after clocking a wind-assisted time of 11.23 seconds for a combined two-heat time of 23.22. “It’s the third Youth Olympic Games and being the first medallist for my island feels great. I’m nothing but proud.”
While thrilled with the medal, Alfred was overcome by emotion at the thought of her father, Julian Hamilton, who died five years ago and would have celebrated his 47h birthday on Wednesday.
“I’m sure he would have wished for me to get this medal and be here for this moment,” Alfred said.
In addition, her aunt, Karen Alfred, who helped raised her, passed away just a few days before Alfred travelled to Argentina to compete at Buenos Aires 2018.
“I’m sad she can’t celebrate with the family but I dedicate this to her and my dad,’’ Alfred said.
Alfred came into stage two of the 100m with the second fastest time after winning her first heat last Friday in 11.99 seconds. She led for the first 60 meters in Monday’s race before being overtaken by Nigeria’s Rosemary Chukuma.
Chukuma, who clocked 11.17 seconds, clinched the gold with a combined time of 23.30 seconds, just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Alfred. Anahi Suarez of Ecuador took the bronze in a combined 23.26.
“I knew I was going to medal anyway,’’ said Alfred, who relaxes before a race by listening to soca music. “Not to be boastful but I came to these championships positive and I delivered very well. We hoped for gold but I’m still thankful for silver.”
Alfred had to overcome many challenges on her way to succeeding on the Youth Olympic stage
“At the age of 14 I had to go to Jamaica on my own and that was very hard for me,” she said. “ I had to live with a different family and adapt to a whole new culture but I’m thankful for that experience. I came here delivered and I’m thankful.”