It was indeed a blessed Easter Sunday for Rasheem Griffith, Aaron Worrell and team Barbados on Day Two of the 46th Flow CARIFTA Games being held at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curacao.
Both Griffith and Worrell brought glory to this gem of the Caribbean Sea with two gold medals in the Under-18 Boys 400m and Boys Open octathlon respectively. Jonathan Miller captured silver in the Under-18 Boys triple jump while Rivaldo Leacock and Tianna Bowen got bronze in the Under-20 Boys and Girls 400m hurdles respectively to bring Barbados’s medal count to five at the end of day two and an overall total of nine medals.
The 16-year-old Coleridge and Parry schoolboy Griffith repeated his gold medal performance from last year in Grenada to retain his title as the fastest Under-18 Boys 400m runner in the region.
Griffith who broke the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship record in a time of 50.75 did not get the best of starts but still managed to dominate the field and clock 51.64 seconds and in the process held off the Jamaican duo of Rovane Williams (52.69) and Dashinelle Dyer (53.02).
Griffith was all smiles as he spoke with Barbados TODAY about his outstanding victory.
Describing the race, he explained his disappointing failure of not getting out the blocks fast enough but said he had the confidence and endurance to pull through.
“Today was very unfortunate because I got off to a slow start and I had to bring myself back into my composure, pick up from two hundred meters and just kick for home,” said Griffith, who credited lots of endurance work done as instructed by his coach Ramon Armstrong.
Unlike yesterday, Barbados had a lot more reasons to smile today. Worrell continued Barbados’ pride by claiming this country’s second gold medal in the Boys Open octathlon.
The St Michael School student endured a total of eight events which began yesterday and in so doing tallied 5461 points to edge Wilkenson Fenelon of Turks and Caicos who finished second with 5460 for the silver and Kerlon Ashby of Trinidad and Tobago third with 5247 points.
Worrell competed in the 100m, long jump, shot put, 400m, 110m hurdles, high jump, javelin throw and 1500m to wear the gold medal around his neck.
Speaking with this online newspaper, the outstanding athlete who said he loves going to church was filled with praise to God for his performance.
He said the road to his accomplishment was not easy and the feeling of actually winning a medal at this level was unbelievable.
“After working so hard against these guys and with these guys, to be able to finally come and compete against some of the best that the Caribbean has, is a wonderful opportunity and I thank Barbados for allowing me to have it,” said the Arch Hall, St Thomas resident who thanked his family, coaches and all those who have supported him along this journey.
After slipping into second position with the javelin and 1500m left to complete, Worrell said the coaching staff led by Desiree Crichlow was behind him every step of the way and they went back to the drawing board.
“We had to go back to the drawing board, plan out and determine the best of each athlete and then do more than enough to be able to come out on top in most events. I had a personal best in the last two events to be able to attain this gold,” Worrell said.
Three more medals were added by the Bajans when Jonathan Miller ran, skipped and hopped to a silver medal distance of 14.85m in the Under-18 Boys’ triple jump, behind Jamaican Safin Wills’ 15.11m.
Christ Church Foundation School athletes also represented well with Tiana Bowen running the Under-20 Girls 400m hurdles – which had just four participants – and clocking 1:02.80 for the bronze medal. The eventual gold and silver medallists were Jamaica’s duo of Nicolee Foster (58.84) and Shiann Salmon (59.59).
Leacock was also third in 52.44 and should have placed second but a determined effort from silver medallist Timor Barrett of Jamaica (52.32) denied him that opportunity while Barrett’s teammate Ronaldo Griffith was victorious in 52.01 seconds.
Unfortunately Shonita Brome (1:01.30) missed out on reaching the podium when she was nipped on the line for third by Gabrielle Gibson of Bahamas (1:01.29) in the Under-18 Girls 400m hurdles. Sanique Walker of Jamaica won that event in 58.95 seconds for a new CARIFTA record. Local Girl Hannah Connell was also in that race and she came seventh. Brome also finished fourth in the Under-18 Girls long jump with the 5.57m earned on her opening jump. Akayla Morris was fifth after landing at a distance of 5.52m and taking first position was Chantoba Bright of Guyana (5.91m).
Silver medallist in the Under-20 Boys 100m, Jaquon Hoyte, would not be able to contest the 200m after failing to secure his spot in tomorrow’s final while running the preliminaries. The struggle continues for Tristan Evelyn who failed to medal in the 100m yesterday and returned in the 200m today where she failed to advance after producing the ninth fastest time of 25.18.
Shanice Hutson produced a personal best of 39.01m to finish fourth in the Under-18 discus event. Enrique Babb in the Under-18 Boys shot put was fifth throwing 16.08m. Daniel Cope of Jamaica set a new meet record of 18.17m.
Matthew Clarke has qualified for the Under-18 Boys 200m and will be going into that race with the seventh fastest time of 22.20 seconds tomorrow on the third and final day.
Roneldo Rock will look to add to his bronze medal by finishing in the top three of the Under-18 Boys 800m tomorrow when he enters with the third fastest time of 1:58.34 behind the Jamaican pair of Kimar Farquharson (1:58.17) and Tyrese Reid (1:58.83)
Meanwhile last year’s double gold medallist Jonathan Jones easily advanced into the Under-20 Boys 800m and will only need to worry about Agerian Jackson of Jamaica who had a better time of 1:54.38.
The third and final day will commence tomorrow April 17th at 9 a.m.