A number of Barbados’ junior athletes showed improvement running personal best times at the 2017 dual track and field meet against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.
Barbados scored 540 points to run away with the winners’ trophy this past weekend at the National Stadium. They outpaced the Trinidadian team which had the support of Hasely Crawford, the 1976 100m Olympic champion in Montreal, among other guests including National Athletics Administration Association of Trinidad and Tobago president, Epharim Serrette.
In what was a last opportunity to qualify for the CARIFTA Games scheduled for April 15 to 17 in Curacao, the highly promising Ondre Callender secured his place.
The Lester Vaughan Secondary School student who currently trains with Pacers track club under Alwyn Babb, jumped a distance of 6.91m to surpass the qualifying mark of 6.85m.
Another outstanding performance came from Triston Gibbons in the Under-20 Boys shot put when he produced a gigantic throw of 18.47m to obliterate the 16.30m, which he threw a couple days ago in order to qualify for CARIFTA. That throw by Gibbons, a competitor of Elite Distance Programme, even surpassed the record of 17.64m currently held by Tristan Whitehall of San Salvador in 2013. Gibbons should be a definite contender for the gold medal next month.
Jaquon Hoyte, already qualified for the CARIFTA 100m a couple days ago with a time of 10.51 at the Louis Lynch Championship, ran a season best of 10.14 Saturday to also claim a place for Pan American Juniors (PAJ). Trinidad also had two CARIFTA qualifiers in that event when Jalen Purcell and Jerod Elcock produced times of 10.37 and 10.43 for second and third place respectively.
Double CARIFTA gold medallist Jonathon Jones in the 800m and 1500m last year was unstoppable in the Under-20 Boys 400m clocking 47.18, followed closely by the Trinidadian trio of Judah Taylor (47.83), Zidane Martin (48.14) and Kashief King (48.19) respectively.
Antoni Hoyte-Small, another CARIFTA medallist last year, showed he still has more speed left to burn in Curacao, running 47.58 to meet the standard once more, this time bettering his 47.92. Delano Wickham also ran well to keep up with Hoyte-Small but crossed the finish line in 48.91 seconds to narrowly miss the qualifying time of 48.80.
Last year’s CARIFTA bronze medallist Adell Colthrust of Trinidad and Tobago will also be in Curacao this year. Colthrust looked smooth in his strides this weekend, setting a pace of 10.68 in the 100m to beat out a competitive field of Under-18 Boys that included Barbadian Darian Clarke who just missed out with a time of 10.77. Matthew Clarke of Barbados also ran a split second faster to improve on his 200m time of 21.30 to 21.29 in the Under-18 Boys Division.
There were also pleasing efforts in the hurdles and Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist Rivaldo Leacock led the way with a laudable time of 51.80 seconds to dismiss the CARIFTA time of 53.70.
Going over the Under-18 Boys 400m hurdles, Rasheeme Griffith earned a personal best of 51.85 and in the process out-did the 54.50 seconds requirements for CARIFTA. Shonita Brome, also on the plane to Curacao, ran 62.73 to better her previous standard of 62.79 in the Under-18 Girls 400m hurdles which was won by Patrice Richards of Trinidad in 62.10.
CARIFTA qualifiers in the Under-18 Boys 110m hurdles Tre Hollingsworth and Nathan Fergusson were locked in feverish battle as the two ran 13.85 and 13.90 respectively. Tyrese Rawlins of Trinidad followed closely behind in 14.25 seconds to also reach the mark.
Another notable performance was Shikyla Walcott of Trinidad in the 100m, sprinting to victory in 11.90 seconds ahead of the 12.17 seconds produced by Barbadian Olympian Kierre Beckles.
Mary Fraser, the 2015 Austin Sealy Award winner, featured in the Under-20 Girls 800m but was unable to run under the qualifying time of 2:15.00 after she came first in 2:16.50 seconds. Fraser, who is also a promising amateur boxer, has gained some extra pounds and muscularity. She competed on the weekend only as an exhibition runner.
Former CARIFTA athlete Anderson Greaves also missed the plane after falling short of meeting the qualifying standard in the Under-20 Boys long jump when he landed at 7.03m, 17 centimeters outside the 7.20m required to book his ticket.
Trinidadian shot putter Ianna Roach threw a distance of 14.47m to win that event and will be a serious customer in Curacao in the Under-18 Girls Division after going way past the 13.25m qualifying mark.