Barbados has named a 26-member squad to compete at this year’s CARIFTA Games, which will be held in Basseterre, St Kitts from April 4 – 6.
The team, which comprises seven females and 19 males, was announced during a press conference at the National Stadium this evening.
Seasoned campaigners, Mario Burke, hurdler Rivaldo Leacock and quarter miler, Ramarco Thompson will lead the charge for the boys.
Among the girls’, last year’s gold medalist in the 400 metres, Sada Williams headlines a small female contingent, which also includes Hayley Matthews, Tristan Evelyn and first timers Mary Fraser and Elizabeth Williams.
However, exciting junior sprinters Akalya Morris of The Lodge School and Combermere’s Ashlee Lowe will not be making the trip because of their age.
President of the AAB Katherine Jordan revealed that the association had written to CARIFTA seeking permission to include the two athletes in the squad.
But in their reply, CARIFTA officials said athletes born in the year 2001 would not be eligible to participate.
Jordan said while they felt they had come up with the best possible team, there was a worrying concern about the small number of females getting involved in athletics.
“Yes we are concerned about girls in school, girls in track and field and girls in sport in Barbados generally,” Jordan explained.
“I think we have to continue with the athletics programme that we started in the primary schools to see if we can catch some of them and keep some of them in the sport.
“We have been trying but we know that we have to do more. But this is a problem across the region, and not just in Barbados,” she added.
Jordan said she had recently met with the Girl Guides Association in an effort to bring more girls into track and field.
First vice-president of the Athletics Association of Barbados (AAB), Noel Lynch told reporters that he expects the team to do well at the regional meet and possibly surpass their 16 medal performance last year, which included five gold, five silver and six bronze medals.
The team will be managed by Maureen Dottin, while Bryan Holder has been named as head coach.
Full team: (Girls) Hayley Matthews, Mary Fraser, Tristan Evelyn, Ayanna Morgan, Danielle Scantlebury, Elizabeth Williams, Sada Williams.
(Boys) Aaron Worrell, Adam Niles, Anderson Greaves, Deshon Trent, Jaquone Hoyte, Jonathan Jones, Rivaldo Leacock, Triston Gibbons, Kalvin Marcus, Daquan Lovell, Daryl Sobers, Joshua Hunte, Josiah Beckles, Juwan Augustin-Mayers, Mario Burke, Michael Nicholls, Raheem Skinner, Ramarco Thompson, Stephen Griffith.
(Manager) Maureen Dottin, (head coach) Bryan Holder, (Coaches) Ramon Armstrong, Desiree Crichlow, Lennox Ellis, (physiotherapists) Phyllis Burnett, Shonelle Trotman.