Last week we looked at the who’s who of the athletes positioned to make a big splash in Rio. This week I thought I’d go out on a limb and look at least at the local athletes who should make some waves, albeit not tsunami sized, at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Barbados Olympic Association has not yet confirmed the participants for Barbados at this year’s games. However, we will look at the individuals in athletics who have made the qualifying marks in their particular events, and see how they stack up against the rest of the field.
Levi Cadogan is one of the two athletes who have managed the Olympic mark for the 100 meters men’s event in Rio. With his 2016 best of 10.45 and five athletes already running sub-10 this year, Levi would have to do even better than his personal best 10.01 run in late 2015, if he plans to make it all the way to the final. Ranked 22nd in the world in this event currently, it would definitely be a surprise for him to challenge for a medal. The right series of races at the right time is all it will take, however, for him to make a real run at a medal in Rio. Definitely he will have to find a way to break the 10-second barrier.
Ramon Gittens is the other Barbadian hopeful to make the short dash in Rio. With a 10.02 personal best in August last year and respectable 6.51 in the 60m in March this year, he will be mostly in the same boat as his countryman Cadogan.
Shane Brathwaite has made the mark for Rio in the 110m hurdles. With the 24th fastest time in the world in the 60m indoor hurdles, Shane needs a more explosive start if he is going to make any kind of run for the final in Rio.
Greggmar Swift is the other hurdler past the Olympic mark. Without a 110m hurdles time on the books for 2016 his 7.60 mark in the 60m hurdles indoor this year puts him up in the top 15 in the world. Shaving the .28 seconds off his personal best to get up among the world leaders will definitely be his goal before the Olympics.
Getting to his personal best of 20.36 in the 200m, Ellis Burkheart has the 20th fastest time this year and a qualifying mark for the Olympics. With the top three marks this year all sub-20 he has his work cut out for him as the sole qualifier in the event so far for Barbados.
Up next is Sada Williams who seems to run faster every time she hits the track, clocking personal bests in both her events the 200m and 400m sprints. She has made the Olympic marks. Sada’s 22.61 is the 8th fastest half lap for women this year and with her form improving the way it is puts her in strong contention for a stunning performance in Rio. Her 52.07 in her pet event the 400m is a little further down the world list for 2016, 29th to be exact, but if her form continues to improve she may be able to have a strong showing in this event in Rio as well. No other females have made the qualifying marks for any of the sprints.
Kierre Beckles can possibly take the track in Rio having made the mark in the 100m hurdles for women. Her mark of 13.01 is 33rd in the world this year, she has run sub-thirteen and will need to find that form again if she doesn’t want to bow out in the early rounds of this event in Rio.
Fellow hurdler Tia-Adana Belle has made the qualifying times for the longer version. With a 2016 clocking of 55.82, which is the 16th fastest time this year, she will still have to shave more than a second off her time to catch the world leaders.
And finally possibly the best chance at a medal, and very possibly more than one, Akela Jones is currently the joint world leader in the hepthatlon on 6307 points tied with Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez. Akela also has the top world mark in the high jump for 2016 and with a sub-13 time in the women’s 100 hurdles, 19th in 2016, she will be a busy bee in Rio. Definitely on the pace with the top in the world we can surely look at her for serious medal contention.
In closing I think it would be almost a faux pas not to mention Jonathan Jones who broke two records in his division at Carifta earlier this year. Competing in the 800m and the 1500m at World Juniors in 74 days I will go out on a limb and say it would not surprise me one bit to see the youngster clock Olympic qualifying times in the 800m event. Almost seven minutes off the pace of the world leaders in this event this year, if qualified and selected for Rio, he won’t make any runs in medal contention but the exposure and experience gained from such an opportunity may be the difference between competing and medalling in 2020.