Disappointed, surprised and unfair!
This is how Christ Church Foundation’s track and field coach Seibert Straughn has reacted to the school’s sprint queen and top athlete Hannah Connell being left out of a 26-member Barbadian team set to travel to the CARIFTA games scheduled for April 30 – March 2 in the Bahamas.
It’s a decision that has brought about public discussion in local track and field circles with many lovers of the sports querying the Athletics Association of Barbados’ (AAB) move.
Connell helped her school to a third consecutive Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) when she won the Under-20 girls 100m dash and finished runner-up in the 200m to St Michael’s Ashlee Lowe.
It’s the first time in three years that Connell won’t be outfitted in the national colours at the regional meet having been to the games in 2016 and 2017.
Though elated that five of his athletes have been selected, Straughan was perplexed that the AAB had dropped 18-year-old Connell from the Barbados squad.
“Her missing out, I was a bit surprised because when you look at the selection of some of the personnel I thought that she could have been on the team to make our team a bit stronger so It was disappointing.
“Selectors and associations have the right to select who they want. But in a case like Hannah’s, she would have probably been one of Barbados’ most improved athletes. She is someone who can move on to the next level if she continues on the right path,” Straughan told Barbados TODAY
He made it clear that he was not at all throwing stones at the selectors but he said he believed the move to be unjust.
“I can’t be too critical of the selection process because I was a selector in the past. I just think they have to be consistent and be very fair to everyone. It is all about being fair to the athletes and I don’t think the decision was a fair one.”
Straughan added that Connell was disappointed but he offered words of comfort and encouragement to the school’s top track star.
“I told Hannah that you have to be strong and learn from these types of disappointments and she will come back very strong. Hannah has specific goals that she wants to achieve for the remainder of the year and she will move on.
“She was disappointed but I try not to focus on that. I want to focus on the positive side and share some experience I had as an athlete when I used to compete with my athletes at Foundation. I told her to use this experience to better her life not only in the sport but overall.”
The Barbados team for CARIFTA reads: Under-20 boys: Tafari Bishop, Jaden Broome, Matthew Clarke, Seth Edwards, Nathan Fergusson, Triston Gibbons, Anderson Greaves, Kuron Griffith, Rasheeme Griffith, Zion Hill, Antoni Hoyte-Small, Jonathan Jones, Jonathan Miller, Ronaldo Rock.
Under-20 girls: Rhea Hoyte, Ashlee Lowe
Under-17 girls: Sarah Belle, Anika Blackman, Vanessa Greaves, Tia Hinds, Shanice Hutson, Rowland Kirton-Browne, Dominique Wood.