09 APR 2007 General News Turks & Caicos

Jamaica continues to dominate - CARIFTA, Day 2

Shana-Gaye Tracey (JAM), a World Youth Champs prospect, seen winning the Under-20 girls 400m Hurdles at Carifta Games on Sunday (Anthony Foster)Shana-Gaye Tracey (JAM), a World Youth Champs prospect, seen winning the Under-20 girls 400m Hurdles at Carifta Games on Sunday (Anthony Foster) © Copyright

Turks & CaicosDay two of CARIFTA XXXVI was only slightly less exciting than the opening day, Saturday. What Sunday (8) lacked in terms of big performances, it made up in atmosphere, with thousands of Bahamians, Jamaicans and Turks & Caicos Islanders singing, cheering and sounding all manner of instruments in the stands at Turks & Caicos National Stadium on Providenciales.

Whereas six records fell on day one, just one went on Sunday, though wind may have played a part in keeping that number down.

Jamaica extended its medal lead on Providenciales (Provo) to 50, double its day one total. Jamaica had 21 gold medals, 19 silver and 10 bronze. Trinidad & Tobago, with 23 total medals, had claimed 5 gold, 8 silver, 10 bronze. Bahamas, the nearest nation to Turks & Caicos, had 12: 5, 3, 4. Barbados added four more to its strong opening day haul for a total of 10: 4, 2, 4. Martinique owns seven total medals: 2, 3, 2. Grenada has taken 3: 2, 0, 1. St Lucia and Anguilla each have a single gold medal.

Bahamas block Jamaican relay sweep

Despite missing three of their first-choice athletes, the Bahamas came into this meet with high hopes, and they have had a number of successes so far.

Count among said successes victory for the multi-island nation's 4x100m under-20 women's team, Lesha White, Crystal Bodie, Tia Rolle and Nivea Smith moving the baton around the track in 44.94 seconds to hold off a Jamaica team that turned in a 45.02-second performance and a 45.50 Trinidad & Tobago quartet.

Lee and Blake continue to fly

‘Normal service’ was restored in the other relay finals. Jamaica won the women's under-17 title in 45.56 from Trinidad & Tobago (46.35) and Bahamas (46.51).

Led by new CARIFTA under-17 record holder Dexter Lee, Jamaica won the men's under-17 title in 41.11, with Trinidad & Tobago (42.08) and Grenada (42.14) second and third.

In the men's under-20 division, Kemar Marsden, Ramone Mckenzie, Cawayne Jervis and new Jamaica and CARIFTA individual under-20 100m record holder Yohan Blake virtually danced across the line in 39.47 seconds.

Led by Keston Bledman, Trinidad & Tobago was timed in 40.22 for silver. St Kitts-Nevis, with a time of 40.71, grabbed bronze.

Second record for Campbell

The day after setting a new CARIFTA mark in the under-17 1500m run, Jamaica's Kemoy Campbell set another, this time in the 3000m run. Gavyn Nero's 8:53.42 was the winning time in Guadeloupe last year, but the Trinidad & Tobago star, now moved on to the under-20 division, will have to be satisfied with a one-year reign as record holder. Campbell ran a breezy 8:46.49 to set the new record, and he will be aiming for the distance treble on Monday. Question is can he run under 1:53.72 for a third record?

Matthew Spring, who was third in the 1500m on Saturday, clocked a distant 9:10.62 on Sunday to take silver for Bermuda. Deonne De Nicol-Samuel was a close third, his 9:11.19 owing much to strong late running.

In the women's open 3000m run, Teneisha Davis completed a double of her own, crossing the line in a tight finish with Guyana's Alika Morgan - 10:12.64 to 10:12.94 as the two battled hard down the home straight. Alika had finished third in the 1500m run. This time, it was Kimberly Brown of Jamaica third, her 10:32.38 well off the pace.

Hall helps hold near hurdles hegemony

Jamaica took three of four gold medals in the hurdles events, and only one of their hurdlers failed to medal. Leading the way was 300m under-17 Hurdles champion Lanice Hall, whose 43.04 earned her a hotly contested win over Sparkle McKnight (43.65) from Trinidad & Tobago. Coming in at an even 44.00 seconds, Barbados' 14-year-old Kenrisha Brathwaite was the third athlete across the line.

Shana-Gaye Tracey, 16, who won the Under-17 300m Hurdles in 2006, stepped up to the full 400m race, winning at her first go in the under-20 division. She won in 58.77 seconds, and teammate Andrea Reid - who is struggling with a back injury - ran 59.79 for silver. Although she had the fastest time in the preliminaries, Trinidad & Tobago's Janeil Bellille struggled a bit in the final, running just 59.88 but holding off a stiff challenge from Barbados' Latoya Griffith for bronze.

Dwayne Extol clocked 55.75 to take yet another Jamaican gold in the under-17 400m Hurdles. "I am very happy, elated," said Extol. "I made a lot of mistakes. I had to just make up for it in the straight. I was not impressive because my personal best is 52.3 and I wanted to break the record, but that did not happen." His teammate, Kavean Smith, stopped the clock in 56.87 seconds for bronze, with Neimi Burnside clocking 56.30 to take silver for Bahamas.

Nathan Arnett posted a tremendous run to old off a chasing Jamaican duo in the under-20 men's 400m Hurdles. The young man from the Bahamas posted a winning time of 51.11 seconds, whilst Keiron Stewart (51.52) and Ryker Hylton (51.58) had to settle for second and third, respectively.

Gold number two for Higgs

Raymond Higgs' star is indubitably in the ascendancy. He kept the under-17 Triple Jump title in the Bahamas, taking over from 2006 champion Gerard Brown. Higgs' third-round 14.76m effort into a -2.0 metres per second headwind, his first of three attempts over 14.5m, gave him his second gold medal in Provo, after setting a new High Jump record on day one. With Long Jump on day three, he could be on course for a rare sweep. Last year, the three-time HJ champ from Freeport, Grand Bahama was third in Long Jump. Watch this space!

Taking the other two medals in the under-17 Triple Jump event were Kevin Luron and Seon Michael Stafford of Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively. Luron's opening trial of 14.27m turned out to be his best effort of the evening, into a headwind of -1.9 metres per second, though he came close on his last two fouls. Stafford had a sightly stiffer wind (-2.2m/s) to face on his final trial of 13.97m, but it was actually the best break he got from the inconsistent elements.

The continued stiff headwind likely cost Jamaica's Kimberly Williams a meet record in the women's under-20 Triple Jump. Williams repeated as champion, though she would have been disappointed with her 12.85m into a -1.6 metres per second wind. The distance was nearly 10cm off her winning distance in Les Abymes last year. Last year Kimberly jumped 13.18m in March. This year, she's already had performances over 13.5m, and she would have been gunning to surpass 13.22m, the 1999 CARIFTA record set by Jamaica's Shelly Ann Gillimore.

The other medallists in the Triple Jump were finalists in 2006, but neither managed a medal in Guadeloupe. Rose-Ann Jones of Jamaica hopped, stepped and jumped to a distance of 12.41m, just two centimetres better than her performance at this meet last year, and like Williams, well below her best. But she did move up two places. Keshia Willix, however, moved up five. In spite of the conditions, she improved from 11.93m to 12.29m, snapping up third for the French overseas department of Martinique.

Former under-17 Triple Jump champion Gerard Brown of Bahamas had a tough start in the senior division. A distance of 6.80m left him sixth in Long Jump. Julian Reid won with 7.39m for Jamaica. On his final trial, Nicholas Gordon needed to get it together and leap 7.28m to help claim the top two spots for Jamaica. And Trinidad & Tobago's made a big leap from 14th last year with a best jump of 6.24m - this year, he cleared 7.17m into a -1.8 headwind, jumping consistently to hold on to bronze.

The under-17 women's high Jump produced no real fireworks, although competition was close. the top four competitors went over at 1.71m, but Jamaica's Kathie-Lee Laidley went over on her first attempt at that height and had fewer misses at lower heights than did Trinidad & Tobago's Jeanelle Ovid, who was joint third last year. Barbados' Jamiyla Jordan, joint fifth with Laidley last year, required two tries to get over at the winning height.  Jamaica's Shanieka Thomas also went over at 1.71m - she was fourth.

Jamaica's Lorenzo Johnson repeated as Pole Vault champion although he started jumping at least year's winning height, 3.80m, and added 20cm. Vernal McIntosh of the Bahamas went over at 3.30m to take silver in that event.

T&T, Martinique split morning throws

Jamaica was shut out of the medals in the morning finals, both throws. Jamel Paul held on for a narrow win in the under-17 Javelin Throw. His Trinidad & Tobago teammate, Jerron Franklyn - second in Les Abymes last year with a best effort of 52.62m - leapt into an early lead with 52.40m on his opening effort. But that was as good as it got for Franklyn, whilst Paul flung the spear 52.83m on his second trial to steal the lead. Daneal Marshall of Barbados also got amongst the medals with 51.40m on his second throw.

Second last year, MArtinique's Myriam Lixfe improved to 15.16m and gold in women's under-20 Shot Put. An outstanding all-round athlete, Myriam is a member of her territory's 400m relay squad, and she also performs in Triple Jump and 100m Hurdles. She was also the class of the competition, throwing consistently above 14m and twice over 15m, including that big throw on her final trial, when it was clear she was chasing the 15.75m record established by her compatriot, Claudia Villeneuve, five years ago.

By all indications, Lixfe should get Villeneuve's mark in St Kitts-Nevis next year. Herself and teammate Gianni Robard finished first and second in under-17 in 2005, their last year in that division. Last year, Robard's 12.53 left her fifth; in Provo, she improved by nearly a metre, with 13.52m for second. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Akeela Bravo of Trinidad & Tobago pushed 12.92m for third, excellent and instructive, as she added nearly 2m to the 10.95m that did not even have her among the under-17 medals last year.

Dottin at the double

In the evening session, Barbados and West Indies cricketer Deandra Dottin took her second gold medal of this meet, with Javelin Throw still to come. Enjoying the Provo conditions, the stocky St James Secondary student won under-17 Discus Throw with a superlative throw of 39.58m - she was not entered in this event last year. Alexandra Terry of Cayman Islands was second last year with 32.69m; despite an improvement to 37.44m, she was second again this year. Jamaica's Kaycia Greaves (36.99m) took bronze in the event.

Kurt Felix, who was also competing in men's open Heptathlon, opened his under-20 Javelin Throw account with 56.65m with an intermittent crosswind affecting the competitors periodically. And having thrown 60m on Saturday, he might have been expected to favour himself for gold. But all was not well with Felix, as he would reveal later in the day.

That first-round 56.65m would be his best effort of the day, although he did lead the competition for two rounds with that mark. He ended up finishing fourth.
In round three, Trevor Ifill of Barbados threw 57.79m to take over the lead, with Trinidad & Tobago's Jeffery Williams throwing 57.12m to also surpass the mark previously established by Felix. Ifill and Jefferey would go on to take second and third. But he day belonged to St Lucia's Albert Lawrence, whose fifth-round 58.13m earned him gold.

Albert accepted his career-best performance with a shrug, saying that he was "used to competing in these kinds of conditions at home."

Another combined events competitor, Latanya Nation, had better luck in one of her individual events. The Jamaican threw 41.40 last year for bronze in under-20 women's Discus Throw, and although she only managed 41.25m this year, she ended with gold. In second place, with a best throw of 40.68m, was fellow Jamaican Keneisha Throughsing. Taking the third spot, with a best effort of 37.86m, was Gabrielle Nixon of the Bahamas.

Felix focused on Hep

After compiling a two-day total of 4311 points from seven events in 2006, good for third place, Grenada's Kurt Felix improved to 4675 in 2007, this time for gold. Jurt ended the opening day on 2774, an improvements of nearly 300 points from last year, based mainly on a much improved performance in Javelin Throw, the event in which he had the biggest single point total in the competition.

Consistency in High Jump and a slight uptick in Discus Throw left Kurt needing to beat the event leader by 10 seconds in the 1500m.

Jamaica's Andrew Riley was that man. He won the Hurdles to set the pace on day one, but fell off subsequently to end Saturday in fifth. On Sunday, though, Riley was a man reborn. He cleared 2.00m to win High Jump, whilst Kurt and overnight leader Rashad Clarke of Bahamas cleard 1.88m and 1.79m respectively. Kurt cleared the same height as Shane Brathwaite of Barbados. Shane had been third, but himself and Kurt leapfrogged the Bahamian into first and second place. Riley had moved up to fourth.

Riley moved up to the top spot after Discus Throw, his 40.59m winning that event and earning him 677 points. Despite earning just 502 points on a 31.89m performance in DT, Grenada's Felix was not too badly affected in the overall standings, as the only athletes between himself and Riley were Alexander Evans of Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica's Davis Hipolyte and last year's fifth place finisher, La'Sean Pickstock of the Bahamas, none of whom were in medal contention at that stage.

Brathwaite and Clarke each threw the platter less than 22m, essentially removing them from title contention as well, though the bronze medal would surely have to come down to those two. And in what was essentially a straight race between Felix and Riley, the Grenadian crossed the line in 4:36.35 (703 points) to finish second in the 1500m run, with the Jamaican running 4:57.45 for sixth and a silver medal. Clarke won the race in 4:27.05 to clamber past Brathwaite for the bronze.

"My strategy was just to keep close to the person in the lead and run a good 1500," said Felix. "I had not really trained for the 1500, but my training and the cross country running helped build up endurance." The newly minted champion also revealed that he had picked up an injury during Javelin Throw the previous day, so he had to choose between focusing on indivudal JT or Heptathlon. "It was in my mind that I had to do well," he said. "It was either or neither and I said, 'Well, it seems like it's got to be the Hep."

No slacking for Slack

Long Jump changed the leader-board in the women's open Pentathlon. Overnight leader, Martinique's Audilia Da Veiga, won under-17 Long Jump with 5.75m, but she did not reckon with Salcia Clark, with a 6.11m personal record. In the event, Slack took over at the top with 5.80m, and Da Veiga's 5.40m left her in second place after the Sunday morning session, with Jamaica's Latanya Nation clearing 5.17m to stand third after four events. Trinidad & Tobago's Venice Frederick, bronze medallist last year, was holding on in fourth.

And at the end of day two, she was nearly in with a medal, running 2:27.83 to finish second in the 800m run and with a two-day total of 3289. Another couple of seconds ahead of Nation, and she would have been right there. But Nation managed third place, 2:29.17, and her total of 3305 gave her bronze, her second Sunday medal. Meanwhile, her fellow Jamaican, Slack, won the 800 in 2:25.18, ending on 3553 for gold. Da Veiga, although she was an under-17 800m finalist last year, only placed fifth in the 800, a total of 3452. 

Terry Finisterre for the IAAF

**NOTE

5th IAAF World Youth Championships - Age Categories: Only athletes aged 15, 16 or 17 on 31 December in the year of the competition (e.g. for the 2007 Championships, born in 1990, 1991 or 1992) may compete.

Full qualification standards can be found by clicking here