Barbados’ overall performance at the 46th Flow CARIFTA Games held in Ergilio Hato Stadium, Willemstad Curacao, is testimony that more work is needed.
The Barbadian athletes and coaching staff arrived today at the Grantley Adams International Airport about 6.30p.m. They fell eight medals short of the 20-gained last year in Grenada. The 28-member team captured 12 medals this time around and head coach Adrian Thorne believes that more needs to be done if Barbados is to do better when Bahamas host the 47th edition of the CARIFTA Games next year.
According to Thorne come next year Barbados needs to carry a much larger contingent which he said would require lots of planning.
“All-round planning is needed from the coaches in Barbados to bring a strong team next year and we need to plan in order to get to the top level. Everybody just has to be in agreement to what we are doing also but we need to take it and push it through because we have a lot of good youngsters at home that need to be pushed through certain programmes to get to this level and even the world stage,” Thorne said.
Barbados’ four gold medals came through Rasheem Griffith in the Under-18 Boys 400m hurdles and with his team in the Under-18 4x400m relay, Aaron Worrell in the Octathlon and Jonathan Jones in the Under-20 Boys 800m. There were also four silver medals captured by Kalvin Marcus in the Under-20 Boys javelin, Johnathan Miller in the Under-18 triple jump, Jaquon Hoyte in the Under-20 100m and Tianna Bowen in the Under-20 Girls 400m. Roneldo Rock captured two bronze in his first year as an Under-18 in the 800m and 1500m while Rivaldo Leacock also took home bronze in the Under-20 Boys 400m hurdles and Bowen was third in the Under-20 Girls 400m hurdles.
In his capacity as coach of the CARIFTA team for the very first time, Thorne made an important point that more needed to be done for Barbados’ sprint programme and it was evident at CARIFTA in the 100m and 200m. Hoyte was the lone competitor for Barbados and he represented well with silver but Kentoine Browne who was also in that Division failed to qualify for the finals. Matthew Clarke in the Under-18 Boys 200m final missed out on a bronze medal and did not medal in the 100m final which also featured Darian Clarke of Barbados. Tristan Evelyn represented Barbados in the Under-20 Girls 100m and 200m and also failed to medal along with Hannah Connell in the Under-18 100m and 100m hurdles.
“We need to get our sprint programme in order. BSSAC [Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship] and CARIFTA are two different things. BSSAC is not the same as this level [CARIFTA] and we have to recognize that and plan BSSAC around CARIFTA. The Minister of Sports said something that he is planning to do for the athletes so I hope he follows through with that. I am hoping that these programmes follow through, we need to do, it is not just lip talk, we need something to happen,” Thorne stressed.
Despite the disappointments, the head coach was satisfied with the athletes while noting many of them put their best foot forward. However he said there was always room for improvement and added that the coaches in Barbados needed to take stock in order to get the athletes up there. He also made a case for bringing the island’s younger athletes to CARIFTA in order to groom them for the following year.
“A lot of the guys came fourth and if only they could have capitalized and come third or second. But it wasn’t to be so we got lots of planning to do for next year to gain even more medals. It is a developmental meet. We should be bringing our developmental athletes to this meet to groom them for the following year.
“I try to aim for excellence at all levels and aim for it all the time. We need to do more work and even though I am unhappy about that [results] we will get back up there. The coaches in Barbados have to take a stand and get the athletes up there. It is alright at home running and beating everybody at home but then to come to the CARIFTA standard you have put in a lot more work,” said Thorne, a teacher at Harrison College.
Meanwhile manager Angela Jackson explained that there were some disappointments but they were still pleased with the team effort. She noted that many of the athletes recorded personal bests and therefore the medal count should not be the only measure.
“Even though we fell short in terms of medals it does not mean that the performances were below par or anything like that. We would have to analyze the performances but the team should not be discounted,” said Jackson, a former national athlete who once held the discus record and is still actively involved in sports after gaining eight medals for Barbados seniors at the Utah Games last year.