Team Barbados gave a commendable but still below par showing as the curtain came down Monday night at the 2017 Flow CARIFTA Games held at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curacao.
The 246 athletes ended with 12 medals after running away with four gold, four silver and four bronze. That performance landed them fourth in the standings behind the Bahamas who are preparing to host the 2018 CARIFTA Games. Perennial champions Jamaica were once again dominant with a whopping 39 gold medals, 28 silver and 19 bronze for a total of 86 medals.
Trinidad and Tobago got 22 medals after claiming seven gold, five silver and ten bronze which were one more than the Bahamas team who were the life of the party during these games and finished in third position with 31 medals – six gold, 15 silver and ten bronze.
Last year Barbados copped 20 medals (six gold, six silver, eight bronze) at the CARIFTA Games staged in Grenada.
This year the coveted Austin Sealy Award went to hometown boy Glenn Kunst of Curacao who had a phenomenal display when he broke the pole vault record which was 4.10m, more than six times before ending at a new height of 4.75m. The award was handed over by Sir Austin himself who was present through the ceremony.
Barbados’ head coach Adrian Thorne said next year they needed to have a much bigger team but was still pleased with the efforts of the athletes.
“We need to plan in order to get to the top level. Everybody also has to be in a agreement with what we are doing also but we need to take it and push it through because we got a lot of talented youngsters at home,” said Thorne, who has taken up the post as head coach for the very first time at CARIFTA.
The ultra-marine, gold and black shone brightly on the podium when Barbados’ 4x400m relay team was anchored to victory (3:14.65) by double CARIFTA gold medallist Rasheem Griffith. He has been outstanding in Curacao.
The other members comprised of Kyle Gale who ran first leg, Antoni Hoyte-Small with a brilliant effort on the second leg to place his team in the lead after Trinidad and Tobago were out front. The baton was then placed into the hand of Nathan Fergusson who ran the third leg and he widened the gap and ensured Griffith had no pressure on the fourth and final leg for the gold.
Jonathan Jones executed a champion’s run to win the Under-20 Boys 800m and earn Barbados another gold medal.
Last year’s double CARIFTA gold medallist Jones, after failing to medal this year in the Under-20 Boys 400m on the opening day Saturday, returned this afternoon to slam the field clocking 1:51.51 and in so doing left Agerian Jackson (1:52.07) of Jamaica to chase his shadow while Lidji Mbaye of Guadeloupe was third in 1:52.59.
Under the command of Barbadian starter Benny Rowe’s gun, Jones got off to a good start and kept with the pack for the first 600m but decided to push the accelerator and kick for home on the final three hundred meters which left the field to catch up.
Speaking after the race, the Harrison College schoolboy said he went into the race without any form of strategy except to run when the gun went off.
The golden boy told Barbados TODAY he wanted the record which was the only thing he went into the race thinking about but due to the weather conditions he was unsuccessful.
“That was the only thing I went into the race thinking about, the record time which when I was coming home and the heat started to hurt me in the last two hundred meters. But I heard the commentator said something about Jamaica so I try to push even harder but the last few meters I did not have enough strength to get the record. I was probably off by two, three seconds the most,” Worrell said.
The 18-year-old dedicated his victory to grandmother Marvene Brome whom he said has supported him from day one along with his entire community of Checkers Hall, St Lucy.
“Everyone in my district supports me, talks to me personally and knows me from since I was growing up,” Jones said.
Prior to Jones’s performance, Roneldo Rock once again delivered a gutsy performance in the Under-18 Boys Division. The Grantley Adams Memorial schoolboy ran 1:56.32 in the 800m for bronze but was unable to make his way into a silver medal position after being outpaced on the last 150m by Jamaican pair of Kimar Farquharson (1:54.64) and Tyrese Reid (1:54.79) for gold and silver respectively.
Rock said he was thankful for his overall performance having claimed two bronze medals at his first CARIFTA outing for Barbados. He explained that after getting off to a slow start, he told himself never to give up and was able to finish in the top three.
There were once again a few disappointing performances which came in the hurdles, sprints and field events during the sixth session on the third and final day. The Bajan athletes failed to pick up a medal in the 100m and 110m hurdles when Hannah Connell clocked 14:35 for fifth in the Under-18 Girls 100m hurdles which only had six competitors. A new CARIFTA record was also set in that said hurdles event by Britany Anderson of Jamaica [13.16] to erase the previous time of 13.29.
The Under-18 Boys 110m hurdles followed soon after and Tre Hollingsworth (13.89) was fourth and Nathan Fergusson (13.93) was fifth. That event was won by Dejour Russell of Jamaica finishing in 13.19 seconds.
Barbados had a lone competitor in the Under-18 Boys 200m but Matthew Clarke’s 21.65 seconds was only good enough for fourth place after being outpaced by a strong field which comprised of eventual winner Michael Stephens of Jamaica (21.30), Joel Johnson of Bahamas (21.55) and Xavier Narine of Jamaica (21.58) for second and third respectively.
After finishing fourth in the Under-20 Boys discus, Triston Gibbons was also unable to finish in the top three of the shot put.
Enrique Babb in the Under-18 Boys discus was fourth with a 48.62m throw. Daniel Cope of Jamaica threw 61.25m for a new CARIFTA record.