Sporting events are returning to Barbados slowly but surely following the COVID-19 shutdown. And yesterday was the turn of the Pine Hill Juice Aquathlon Kids Series, hosted by the Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes (BFIT), to take centerstage at the Pebbles Beach.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, BFIT president Darren Treasure expressed delight that athletes would finally be able to return to their various disciplines after the long lay-off. In addition to yesterday’s event, Treasure also indicated that BFIT would be hosting its first-ever duathlon national championship on Sunday, August 16th, 2020 at Bushy Park.
Treasure said the duathlon would comprise a short run to start, a 20-kilometre bicycle ride and another three or five-kilometre run to the finish. He extended an invitation to anyone who was interested in competing at next month’s duathlon which he said would offer good competition among the different age groups.
During yesterday’s kids series there were several outstanding performances including first-place finishes from Barbados’ track and field star Layla Haynes along with Niel Skinner, ranked 19th among the world’s best in the aquathlon.
Competing for the first time in the sport, Haynes won the 13 to 15 age group of the aquathlon in 14 minutes and 25 seconds that included a run, swim and another run to finish off the event. Second to Haynes was national swimmer Amelie Baker in 15 minutes and seven seconds.
Known for dominating middle-distance races on the track, Haynes, coached by one of Barbados greatest ever long-distance runners Leo Garnes, said she enjoyed her run but it was the swimming that posed a challenge because it wasn’t something she was accustomed doing.
Describing it as good offseason training, Haynes said: “I think it is really good offseason training and it is fun, it is a really good environment and everything. The competition was strong and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Meanwhile Skinner arguably one of the best aquathlon competitors in the Caribbean stamped his authority during what was his first outing since the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic. Competing in the 16 and over division, Skinner clocked 21 minutes and 20 seconds and was followed home by fellow Queen’s College schoolmate Christopher Pollard (23 minutes and 20 seconds) in second place while Cary Banfield (27 min, 15 seconds) finished third.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, Skinner explained: “I am satisfied with my performance today, the run wasn’t too bad. The hill posed a good challenge and it felt good to be back out on the course after these three months in quarantine.
“I enjoyed the whole competition. First I had Chris with me for the first run and the swim but then I started to put some distance between us in the second run but I enjoyed the whole thing.”
In other results, Chara Hinds (28 minutes and 40 seconds) picked up gold in the females 16 and over. In a distant second position was Christine Richards in 35 minutes and 26 seconds.
In the boys 13 to 15 division, the star performer was Fynn Armstrong (15 minutes and 13 seconds) and second was Daniel Lashley in 17 minutes and 18 seconds.
In the 11 to 12 males, Luke McIntyre finished in nine minutes and four seconds to be first, Cain Banfield (nine minutes and 38 seconds) earned silver and Asher Lashley (nine minutes and 56 seconds) captured bronze. For the girls 11 to 12, Hailey Brathwaite in a time of 16 minutes and four seconds topped that age group.
The nine to ten division was also competitive and in the girls’ showdown, Laila McIntyre (seven minutes and 39 seconds) captured the top podium position, Ali Banfield (eight minutes and 28 seconds) finished second and Hailee Alleyne (nine minutes and 31 seconds) rounded out the top three. The boys’ nine to ten category was limited with competitors but Zindzele Renwick-Williams still gave his best and clocked seven minutes and three seconds for a commanding finish.
Linde Butler was unstoppable in the girls seven to eight division in six minutes and 26 seconds. Meanwhile, for the boys seven to eight, Elijah Telfore (seven minutes and two seconds) won ahead of Yele Renwick-Williams (seven minutes and four seconds) while Jaydn Brathwaite (seven minutes and six seconds) was third. Jade Butler made her mark in the girls seven and over age group in six minutes and 26 seconds.
Following the event, Treasure said he thought the kids really enjoyed the change in the scenery because the event was normally held at the Aquatic Centre located by the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
“This is the first time we have had an event down at this location. The kids seemed all eager to get a good run in today, a good swim. I think a little extra planning involved made things happen in the new COVID environment. Everybody abided well, everyone was wearing a mask or had a mask, social distancing was maintained to ensure everyone was safe.
“It just shows that we can continue on with life and do some of the things we love to do, it just takes a little extra work on the planning side of things. Everyone has to buy into protocols and understand why they are there,” Treasure said.
He added: “I think this was a good test for us to see how we put on events and see what the response would be within the triathlon community and everyone responded fabulously. This gives us a lot of confidence going forward in terms of continuing events. We are hoping to do something every month. Now that people understand what the protocols are and what we expect as an event organisation and federation, we don’t see any problems going forward. It is just going to be business as usual with a couple of small changes.”
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.