NASSAU, Bahamas – Barbados finished an overall fourth on the medals table as Jamaica once again dominated at the 47th staging of the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas.
Barbados copped 13 medals inclusive of three gold, five silver and five bronze. But Jamaica proved irresistible on the track and field accumulating a mammoth 82 medals comprising 44 gold, 27 silver and 11 bronze. The hosts finished second of the 14 competing nations with six gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze to tally a distant 25 medals.
Trinidad and Tobago took third position with 17 medals, including four gold, six silver and seven bronze.
Barbados’ Jonathan Miller and Jonathan Jones disrupted Jamaica’s control of the track and field events by winning the boys Under-20 triple jump and 800 metres respectively as the Games climaxed at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium last night. Miller won with a leap of 15.62 metres while Jones clocked 1:49.58 seconds.
Barbados also took the silver medal in the 4×400 metre relay in a time of 3:08.31 behind Jamaica’s 3:06.62. Barbados were represented in the race by the quartet of Antoni Hoyte-Small, Rasheeme Griffith, Tafari Bishop and Jones. Sarah Belle also got on the podium with a bronze medal in the U17 100M hurdles in a time of 13.55 seconds. Jamaica’s Crystal Morrison and Ackera Nugent finished one-two in 13.11 and 13.35 seconds respectively.
But it was Jamaica’s rising star Briana Williams who truly left an indelible mark on the Games as she stormed to a third gold medal to capture the treasured Austin Sealy Award for the Most Outstanding Athlete.
The United States-based sprinter added the girls Under-17 200 metres title to her collection as the Jamaicans swept all four finals yesterday.
Jamaica made a clean sweep of the sprint hurdles – resetting three records in the process – while also capturing three of the four 4×400 metres relays.
They would have also won all four relays had the girls Under-20s not dropped the baton on the final exchange, and suffered disqualification under the rule regarding recovery of the stick.
That disappointment was one of the few blemishes for Jamaica, however, as they captured 17 gold medals on another day of rich success for the powerhouses.
The 16-year-old Williams, already with gold and records in both the 100m and the sprint relay on Saturday and Sunday respectively, emerged as the darling of the games as she also dismissed her field in the half-lap, winning in a time of 23.11 seconds.
She burst from the blocks, came off the turn in front and never relinquished her lead, leaving Trinidadian Shaniqua Bascombe second in 23.75 and Bahamian Jaida Knowles third in 23.85.
“This was the hardest one. I had a lot of pressure on me coming in but I tried to relax and that’s what I did,” Williams said.
“This has been one of the best CARIFTAs for me, especially winning three gold and breaking two records. I feel great because I know I’ve been working hard for this and I achieved what I was working hard for.”
In the boys equivalent, Rajay Morris snatched gold in 21.25 seconds, dragging teammate Andre Bent across the line with him in second in a time of 21.42.
Ockera Myrie then brushed aside her field to win the girls Under-20s final in 23.34, with French Guiana Gemima Joseph second in 23.70.
And Christopher Taylor secured the first of two gold on the day when he dismissed a threat from hometown favourite Joel Johnson to win the boys Under-20 final in 20.38.
“I am thankful because I was having some discomfort so I just came out here to win and that’s what I did,” said Taylor.
“I wasn’t expecting a fast time because I just came out here to go through the race comfortably and that’s what I did.”
Jamaica’s Vashaun Vascianna extended his team’s superiority in the Under-17s, capturing the boys equivalent in a record run of 13.60, pulling counterpart Jahvel Granville with him in 13.77.
The previous mark of 13.75 was established by Guadeloupe’s Wilhem Belocian in Montego Bay seven years ago.
Amoi Brown, meanwhile, claimed the third record when she sped to a time of 13.15 in the girls Under-20, eclipsing Samantha Elliott’s eight-year-old mark of 13.42.
Once again, Jamaica locked down the first two places as Dazray Freeman followed Brown across the line in 13.39.
Orlando Bennett was the only one not to establish a new record but he did enough to successfully defend his boys Under-20 crown when he won in a time of 13.35.
He was pushed throughout by Guadeloupe’s Jeanice Laviolette who finished second in 13.52. They cleared the final hurdle level but a late thrust handed Bennett the win.
“I’m happy knowing that I came out here and did my best and was able to defend my title so that for me is a lot of joy,” Bennett said.
“I was conscious of [Laviolette] but the aim was to just keep my composure and finish strong.”
Jamaica took no prisoners in the distance relays and it took an error to deny them a clean sweep. The girls Under-17 team of Onieka Macanuff, Garriel White, Calisha Taylor and Daniella Deer had already triumphed in 3:38.39 while Zidane Brown, Devonte Archer, Rahiem Scott and Malachi Johnson had taken the corresponding boys title in 3:14.99.
Janielle Josephs and Charokee Young then established a massive lead on the first two legs of the girls Under-20, an advantage successfully extended by Sanique Walker.
But Walker and anchor Shiann Salmon fumbled the baton under no pressure on the final hand-over and while Salmon regained her composure to win by a handsome margin, the recovery of the baton was ruled to be illegal under IAAF rule 170.6c.
St Vincent and the Grenadines were upgraded to gold in 3:48.24, with Guyana second and St Kitts and Nevis third.
Some of Jamaica’s pain was erased when the boys Under-20 team, anchored by the irrepressible Taylor, easily won the final distance relay in 3:06.62.
Jamaica claimed another gold in the boys Under-20 5000m when Keveroy Venson overtook Guadeloupe’s Alexandre Gauthierot in the final stretch to win in 15:24.57.
Trinidadian Talena Murray won the Under20 girls javelin with a measurement of 45.54m.