Four medals were earned by the 246 athletes on Saturday’s opening day of the 46th Flow CARIFTA Games being held for the first time in Willemstad, Curacao at the Ergilio Hato Stadium.
Barbados were represented in a number of events both on and off track having taken a contingent of 28 athletes who went to battle against 27 other countries participating at these Games attended by a number of dignitaries including CARIFTA Games founder and International Olympics Games member Sir Austin Sealy, along with Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley.
Perennial champions Jamaica have already established their dominance with a number of gold medals on the opening day.
Two records fell on the day and it was Jamaican athletes that wrote their names on CARIFTA’s history page when Fiona Richards threw 54.19m in the Girls Under-20 discus and Roje Stona went a distance of 66.14m in the Under-20 Boys discus.
Kalvin Marcus ended his final year at the CARIFTA Games with a silver medal performance in the Under-20 Boys javelin with a throw of 60.40m, behind Keyon Burton of Dominica [62.14m] for the gold medal.
Tianna Bowen competing in her fifth CARIFTA Games captured her first individual medal with a 55.612 clocking for silver in the Under-20 ladies 400m. The Christ Church Foundation School student who trains with coach Michael Linton staved off Kimoria Mushette of Jamaica who ran one thousandth of a second slower (55.613) for the bronze while fellow Jamaican Junelle Bromfield delivered a golden performance of 53.82 to dismiss the field.
Bowen who ran faster in the preliminaries (55.37) described her performance as special and told Barbados TODAY she expected to finish in the top three.
Even though none of the Bajan athletes earned any gold medals on the opening day, a few of the 246 athletes did well and Jaquon Hoyte was among them. He is now the second fastest boy in the region running the Under-20 100m. After Javan Martin of Bahamas and Coull Graham of Antigua and Barbuda were both disqualified it left the field quite jittery. But on the third attempt Hoyte in lane six did not get the best of starts but was able to accelerate and catch Compton Caesar of Guyana as they both crossed the finish line in 10.46 seconds with the gold medal going to the Guyanese.
The former St Leonard Boys’ athlete, now coached by Bryan Holder at Velocity Management track club, told this online newspaper that after an awful start he was able to use his speed work to catch up the field.
Renaldo Rock at his first ever CARIFTA outing represented well in the Under-18 Boys 1500m race. The 17-year-old Elite Distance 7 athlete ran third for the bronze in 4:11.99 and was able to keep up the pace well for the first three laps but eventually faded into third on the final 75m when Jamaican duo Renardo Johnson (4:09.74) and Tyrese Reid (4:09.87) ran past him for gold and silver respectively. But nothing can be taken away from Rock’s gutsy run.
The fifth form Grantley Adams schoolboy dedicated his effort to all those who helped him reach this far including his mother and grandmother, Sharon and Sheri Thompson.
It was a bitter-sweet day for the Barbadian track and field team with disappointing results especially in the 400m and Under-18 100m.
Last year’s double CARIFTA gold medallist Jonathan Jones running the 400m for the very first time placed seventh in 48.70. The race was won by definite favourite Christopher Taylor in a blistering 45.97.
Prior to that in the Under-18 age group, Antoni Hoyte-Small was sixth clocking 49.45 after participating not in the best of health. Antonio Watson of Jamaica clocking 47.86 was able to edge teammate Ramone Lindo who was timed at 47.99.
The St Michael School duo of Matthew Clarke and Darian Clarke reached the finals but were unable to register in the top three as Matthew had to settle for fourth while Darian was eighth. Last year’s CARIFTA bronze medallist in the Under-18 Boys 100m, Adell Colthrust of Trinidad and Toabgo, returned this year for the gold and ran 10.63, a split second faster ahead of main rival Adrian Curry of the Bahamas’ 10.64 and Tyreke Wilson of Jamaica who was third in 10.69.
Both Hannah Connell and Akayla Morris failed to secure a spot in the Under-18 Girls 100m which had a group of competitive athletes. Starring was Kevona Davis of Jamaica finishing in a time of 11.62, followed closely by Joella Lloyd of Antigua and Barbuda [11.67] and Briana Williams also Jamaica [11.80] to round out the top three.
Tristan Evelyn wearing Barbados colours for the final year at the Games also failed to get among the medals after placing sixth in 11.91. The former Springer Memorial athlete now based at Monroe College, United States, looked good in the preliminaries but was unable to keep up with Khalifa St Fort of Trinidad and Tobago who clocked 11.56 for first place, Aneka Brissett of Jamaica who ran 11.57 for second and Halle Hazzard of Grenada who finished third in 11.67.
Rio Williams in his second outing at these Games was sixth among the Under-20 Boys 1500m field. Only three competitors ran under four minutes in that event and they were Ackeem Colley of Jamaica in 3:55.83, Anferne Headecker of Guyana [3.58.22] for second and Dominica Dyer of Cayman Islands in 3.59.33
Triston Gibbons threw 48.23m in the Under-20 Boys discus and missed out on reaching the podium after finishing fourth. Stona of Jamaica with that huge 66.14m topped that discus event.
Shanice Hutson in the Under-18 Girls shot put was unable to throw the iron ball into a gold, silver or bronze medal position.
Today’s action begins at 9 a.m. with a number of events including the Under-20 Boys 200m which will feature Kentoine Browne of the Lodge School. Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rivaldo Leacock and Rasheem Griffith who broke Leacock’s Under-20 Boys 400m hurdles record at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship will also be in action.