The race was on for CARIFTA and Pan America Junior qualifying times at the 47th edition of the Louis Lynch Championship held this past weekend at the National Stadium.
Stellar performances have earned many of Barbados’ top athletes passes to compete at the 46th staging of the CARIFTA Games, only six weeks away in Curacao from April 15 to 17. Many of the junior athletes blazed the stadium to reach the relevant qualifying standards in various track and field events.
Last year’s double CARIFTA gold medalist in the 800m and 1500m, Jonathan Jones, was among the top performers.
On the opening on Saturday night, Jones of Elite Distance Programme showed pure class when he slammed the men’s 400m open field clocking 46.92 to break the championship record of 47.08 held previously by Nicholas Deshong.
The qualifying time for the Pan American Juniors stands at 47.40 and it was announced that Jones had met that standard along with that for CARIFTA. Fabian Norgrove placed second in a time of 47.14 which was also good enough for Pan American Juniors.
The men’s 100m open featured Olympian Levi Cadogan of Digicel Quantum Leap. Cadogan clocked 10.35 seconds to run under the Pan American qualifying time of 10.50 to secure his spot ahead of Jaquone Hoyte of Velocity Management who missed out in the 100m but was able to merit his place in the 200m for CARIFTA after recording 21.21 ahead of Matthew Clarke who also qualified in that race running 21.30. Three athletes got injured in the 200m and 2014 CARIFTA Games participant Kentoine Browne was one of them.
Another quality performance was witnessed in the men’s 800m open featuring 17 athletes with seven of those representing Elite Distance Programme. It was a very competitive field that included Jones and Anthonio Mascoll who went neck and neck with each other until the last 150m mark when Mascoll pulled away from Jones to produce 1:49.43 which erased the 1:52.48 he set in 2010. Mascoll’s accomplishment was also good enough for the Pan American Juniors’ required time of 1.51.50.
Jones was second crossing the finish line at 1:51.98.
Antonio Hoyte- Small of Rising Stars ran a blistering 46.92 in the preliminary of the Men’s 400m which automatically secured his place in the Under-18 Boys 400m at CARIFTA.
In the Under-18 Boys 110m hurdles, Nathan Fergusson of Digicel Quantum Leap and Tre Hollingsworth of Rising Stars booked their spot on the CARIFTA team. Fergusson ran 13.94 and Hollingsworth 14.16 to go under the 14.40 needed to advance in that age group.
Rivaldo Leacock of Christ Church Foundation also reached the requirements for CARIFTA after finishing third in the Men’s 400m hurdles. Leacock, a silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games last year, ran a time of 52.40 yesterday for another opportunity to represent Barbados. Ironically, both Keon Joseph of Velocity Management and Kemar Norgrove, unattached, clocked 52.03, just missing out on the Pan American qualifying time of 52.00.
Foundation also had another athlete running CARIFTA qualifying time when Hannah Connell crossed the finish line at 14.06 in the Under-18 ladies 100m hurdles.
Two athletes of Elite Distance Programme were outstanding in the shot put and discus which automatically guaranteed a place at the CARIFTA Games. Triston Gibbons in the Under-20 Boys age group putted 17.04, way past the 15.50m needed for CARIFTA. That distance also surpassed the 15.99m once held by Dequan Lovell at the LLC in 2015. Meanwhile Enrique Babb in the Under-18 Division had a discus throw of 45.83m.
Therold Murray came in unattached and went over the high jump bar at the 2.10m needed to get to the Pan American Games and did not bother to challenge his record of 2.20m set back in 2011 at the same games.
There were a few CARIFTA advancements on the second and final day when Jonathan Miller unattached leapt 15.00m in the Under-18 Boys triple jump. Janeil Craigg threw 74.33m in the Men’s javelin open which was satisfactory for the Pan American Juniors.