Mayaguez, Puerto Rico – Steeplechaser Korene Hinds, the women's 4x400m Relay quartet and sprint hurdlers Vonette Dixon and Eric Keddo propelled Jamaica to the top of the overall medal standings of the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Championships, which concluded on Sunday (17) in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Trailing behind Mexico on Saturday, the Island’s four wins on Sunday took her overall crop to 10 gold, six silver and 10 bronze for 26 medals in total, enough to lead over Mexico (7-6-7), Trinidad and Tobago (6-3-5), Bahamas (5-2-3) and Cuba (5-2-0).
A three-time World Championships medallist, 35-year-old Dixon produced the highlight of the day with her impressive 12.77 win in the 100m Hurdles, a season’s best that that now ranks her a tied 11th on the 2011 world lists.
Dixon brought the CAC 100m Hurdles title back to Jamaica for the first time since 2003, when she was third at only 17 years of age.
Colombia’s Brigitte Merlano and Lina Flores were pushed to join the sub 13-second club as the former improved her national record to 12.89 and Flores clocked 12.94 for bronze.
Second at the 2011 CAC Games on the same track, Keddo savoured the gold this time in the 110m Hurdles with a personal best of 13.49. Local Hector Cotto equalled his national record of 13.54 in second, ahead of Colombia’s Paulo Villar (13.60).
Facing local favourite and CAC Games champion Beverly Ramos, Hinds’ experience prevailed as she ran 9:54.67 to grab the 3000m Steeplechase gold, better than her second place in the 1500m on Friday. She was also close to the Championships record of 9:54.01 set by countrywoman Mardrea Hyman in Nassau 2005, when she was second.
Ramos had to be content with the silver medal in 9:58.11.
Jamaica sealed her overall victory in the 4x400m Relay, as 400m Hurdles winner Andrea Sutherland, 400m winner Shereefa Lloyd, 800m bronze medallist Natoya Goule and Patricia Hall joined efforts to stop the clock in 3:29.86, well ahead of the Dominican Republic (3:34.73) and Trinidad & Tobago (3:34.84). Hall also anchored the 4x100m Relay squad to silver on Saturday.
Bahamas had a brilliant day with all its five gold medals won on Sunday. Bianca Stuart took the Long Jump in a national record (6.81m) and Trevor Barry (2.28m) improved from second to gold in the High Jump, ahead of Antigua and Barbuda’s defending champion James Grayman and Saint Lucia’s Darwin Edwards, both with 2.25m.
Nivea Smith (22.80) and Michael Mathieu (20.60) dominated the 200m, the latter beating defending champion Rondell Sorillo of Trinidad and Tobago by just four hundredths of a second.
In the final race of the Championships, Bahamas narrowly beat Trinidad and Tobago for the 4x400m gold (3:01.33 for 3:01.75).
Three of the man who featured in the silver medal winning team in Cali 2008, finally celebrated gold, the first one for Bahamas since Nassau 2005. Ramon Miller, Michael Mathieu and 2001 400m World Champion Avard Moncur were now joined by starter Latoya Williams. Jamaica held on for third in 3:02.00.
Other notable winners on the final day were Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra Borel in the Shot Put (19.00m) and Haiti’s Samir Layne in the Triple Jump with a season’s best of 17.09m, better than his bronze medal performance at the CAC Games on the same track last year.
Mexico’s Gabriela Medina, in her second season after maternity, took the 800m in a personal best of 2:01.50, confirming her goal to break Ana Gabriela Guevara’s 13-year-old national record of 2:01.12. Cuba’s 2006 CAC Games champion Andy Gonzalez improved from silver in Havana 2009 to gold here in 1:48.15.
Puerto Rico added two more gold in the Half Marathon, thanks to Michelle Coira (1:21:07) and Luis Collazo (1:07:08).
Venezuela’s Milangela Rosales produced the second championship record of the 2011 edition as she walked the 10,000m in 47:19.91, half a minute faster than her previous national record and 10 seconds better that the 18-year old mark of 47:29.6 set by Mexican Eloisa Perez in Cali '93.
The 23rd CAC Championships, being held in Puerto Rico for the fourth time and back here since 1997, drew a participation record of 503 athletes (287 men and 216 women) from 32 countries. Nineteen nations achieved at least one medal.
In its 44 year history, the CAC Champs has witnessed the emergence of the region’s best talents, who have gone on to enjoy success on world stage. Just to name a few: Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, Grace Jackson and Veronica Campbell-Brown, Bahamas’ Pauline Davis-Thompson, Cuba’s Ana F. Quirot, Javier Sotomayor and Dayron Robles, among many others.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
The 2011 CAC champions are as follows:
100m Keston Bledman TRI 10.05 (-0.5)
200m Michael Mathieu BAH 20.60 (1.1)
400m Renny Quow TRI 45.44
800m Andy Gonzalez CUB 1:48.15.
1500m Nico Herrera VEN 3:44.92
5,000m Jose Uribe MEX 14:08.10
10,000m Juan Carlos Romero MEX 28:54.06 CR
Half Mar Luis Collazo PUR 1:07:08
3,000m SC Luis Ibarra MEX 8:55.86
110m H Eric Keddo JAM 13.49 (0.7)
400m H Leford Green JAM 49.03
HJ Trevor Barry BAH 2.28
PV Cristian Sanchez MEX 5.00m
LJ Tyrone Smith BER 8.06m (0.8)
TJ Samir Layne HAI 17.09m (-0.5)
SP O'Dayne Richards JAM 19.16m
DT Jason Morgan JAM 60.20m
HT Roberto Janet CUB 71.65m
JT Guillermo Martinez CUB 81.55m
Decathlon Marcos Sanchez PUR 7397
20,000m W Allan Segura CRC 1:28:56.08
4x100m Jamaica 38.81
(Lerone Clarke, Dexter Lee, Jason Young, Oshane Bailey)
4x400m Bahamas 3:01.33
(Latoya Williams, Avard Moncur, Michael Mathieu, Ramon Miller)
100m Semoy Hackett TRI 11.27 (0.5)
200m Nivea Smith BAH 22.80 (1.4)
400m Shereefa Lloyd JAM 51.69
800m Gabriela Medina MEX 2:01.50
1500m Sandra Lopez MEX 4:22.65
5000m Marisol Romero MEX 16:05.68
Half Mar Michelle Coira PUR 1:21:07
3,000m ST Korine Hinds JAM 9:54.67
100m H Vonette Dixon JAM 12.77 (0.9)
400m H Andrea Sutherland JAM 56.75
HJ Lavern Spencer LCA 1.82m
PV Keisa Monterola VEN 4.00m
LJ Bianca Stuart BAH 6.81m (0.7)
TJ Ayanna Alexander TRI 13.50m (-1.3)
SP Cleopatra Borel TRI 19.00m
DT Denia Caballero CUB 62.06m
HT Eli Johana Moreno COL 67.97m
JT Freisa Nunez DOM 54.29m NR
Hep Gretchen Quintana CUB 5704
10,000m W Milangela Rosales VEN 47:19.91 CR
4x100m Trinidad & Tobago 43.47
(Magnolia Howell, Michelle-Lee Ayhe, Ayanna Hutchinson, Semoy Hackett)
4x400m Jamaica 3:29.86
(Andrea Sutherland, Shereefa Lloyd, Natoya Goule and Patricia Hal)
CR - Championships Record, NR - National Record