Last year, in St KittsNevis, there were seven new CARIFTA records. With three days of four gone at the George Odlum Stadium in St Lucia, the XXVIII CARIFTA Games have already witnessed a dozen record performances, including six on Day 3.
With records already gone in the 1500m run under-20 men and women, the 400m girls under-17 and men under-20, and the High Jump men under-20, plus the High Jump under-17 girls equalled, the number of new records doubled on Sunday (12). This time around, the new Mondo track produced records in all events groups in which relays were contested – throws, hurdles, jumps and relays.
Although the start of competition was delayed for two hours thanks to a horrific accident on the road to the Stadium, the early afternoon commencement, plus the prospect of medals for the home team, meant that the Games had their biggest crowd to date. Approximately 5000 patrons, including sizeable contingents from the Bahamas, Barbados and the French Antilles, spurred the athletes on to higher heights, greater distances and lower times, beneath brilliant sunshine – interrupted for just a few minutes by light showers.
Wilson makes new record book entry
Supplanted from the record books last year in the Shot Put under-17, in St Lucia, Quincy Wilson predicted a record, and a 1-2 finish for Trinidad & Tobago in the Discus Throw under-20 men. Initial impressions suggested that he might be right on both counts; the first round saw Wilson on 53.70m (chasing Eric Matthias’ 2003 mark of 55.20m) and himself and teammate Richard Collingwood in the top two positions. But not to be gainsaid, the Jamaican duo of Travis Smikle and Chad Wright overtook Collingwood in the second round. Still well ahead, though, Wilson unleashed throws of 54.48m and then 55.67m, before fouling his last trial. Smikle and Wright occupied the next two spots.
Long hurdles marks tumble
It was Trinidad & Tobago again in the men’s 400m Hurdles, this time through Jehue Gordon. Gordon has been ominous in both hurdle events this year, and he stamped his authority on a classy field in St Lucia. Just 18 years old and a bronze medallist last year, the tall powerful athlete, who will also try the 110m Hurdles at CARIFTA 2009, erased Gregory Little’s 2002 performance of 50.85 seconds from the record book. Gordon ran 50.01 to beat his nearest rival, Leslie Murray of the US Virgin Islands, by over a second. Jamaica’s Dwayne Extol was third.
Also in the 400m Hurdles, Janieve Russell of Jamaica might have put herself in contention for the Austin Sealy Award for the Games’ most outstanding athlete. Already having qualified for the IAAF World Youth Championships, 8-12 July in Bressanone, Sudtirol, Italy (WYC), and having won one event and taken bronze in another, Russell broke an 11-year-old hurdles record. She held off Aimee Adamis of Martinique and Sade-Mariah Greenidge of Barbados to not only win the 300m Hurdles, but to do so in record style. Her mark of 41.30 just eclipsed the performance of 41.33 rendered in 1998 by Jamaica’s Patrica Hall.
The other hurdles events on Sunday produced no records, but a number of WYC qualifiers. In the 400m Under-17 boys, Tramaine Maloney of Barbados led four boys who may have booked their trips to Italy. Maloney beat Patrick Bodie (Bahamas) and Kyle Robinson (Jamaica) under the 56-second mark. Nejmi Burnside of Bahamas also qualified, despite ending fifth in the men’s event. Meanwhile, Nikita Tracy won for Jamaica, like Gordon having been third in St Kitts-Nevis. Last year’s 300m Hurdles champ, Danielle Dowie’s 57.88 qualifies her for Italy. Latoya Griffith, an under-20 finalist last year, was third.
Jamaicans resume sprint relay business as usual
Last year, Jamaica lost both under-20 4x100m relays to the Bahamas. This year, they established who the king of the heap is in the team races, and gave a glimpse of the shape of things to come.
In the 4x1 under-17 girls, led by Russell, Jamaica blazed their way to a CARIFTA record of 45.05, beating the 45.43 Jamaica ran in 2005, and beating teams from Trinidad & Tobago and Bahamas in the process. Breaking a prestigious record set by a team including Marc Burns and Darrel Brown in Grenada in 2000, the Jamaica under-17 boys, led by 100m champion Jahazeel Murphy, were timed at 40.76 (old record 40.87) ahead of the Bahamas and Barbados.
The presence of defending 200m champion Nivea Smith did nothing to help the Bahamas, nor did the services of 100m champion Shekeim Greaves help Barbados in the women’s and men’s under-20 finals. Jamaica women beat Smith and company, 45.04 to 45.43, with Trinidad & Tobago third. Jamaica men beat Greaves and associates, 40.05 to 40.62, with Martinique third.
The story, though, may have been Greaves grabbing his biceps femoris twice, having run the 200m semi-finals less than an hour before the relay final, and with his participation in what should be a tasty final Monday in jeopardy.
From third last year to first, all-time
In 2008, Jamaica’s Rochelle Farquharson was third in the Triple Jump under-17 girls and failed to reach the dais in Long Jump. In 2009, Farquharson is a CARIFTA record holder. She was streets ahead of her competition, Akeila Richardson of Bermuda clearing 11.56m and Tamara Myers of Bahamas 11.70m for third and second. But Farquharson, on her opening trial, more than qualified for WYC and, more immediately, broke Kimberly Williams’ 2004 mark of 12.53m for the event. Two of Farquharson’s jumps were over the 12.00m mark needed to qualify for WYC.
Kareem Streete-Thompson’s record may have been a bit too much for him at this time, but Streete-Thompson would be proud of Jamaica’s Daniel Forte, whose distance of 7.25m in the under-17 Long Jump booked him a trip to Italy and was more than enough to hold off Atiba Wright of Trinidad & Tobago and Wilfried Yeye of Guadeloupe.
In the women’s High Jump, a disappointing competition saw winner Shanieka Thomas of Jamaica, Jeanelle Ovid (Trinidad & Tobago) and Shinelle Proctor (Anguilla) all clearing 1.70, which would not have won them and under-17 medal. Breaking Jamaican hegemony, Trinidad & Tobago’s Elton Walcott won Triple Jump men from J’Vente Deveaux of Bahamas and Ulric Bolosier, Martinique.
Da Veiga wins thrilling Pentathlon
Entering the second day of the Pentathlon, the competition was poised to go to the wire. But overnight leader Makeba Alcide of St Lucia underwhelmed in event 4, the Long Jump. Her best effort of 4.89m left her fifth in that event, second overall and staring at a long uphill climb with Da Veiga’s 5.56m enough to win the Long Jump and put her well ahead, needing only to stay within 15 seconds of Alcide’s time in the 800m run. The hometown girl put in an heroic run to establish a fourth personal record, 2:29.99, beating Da Veiga by five seconds in the event, but doing enough to hold onto silver, with Jamaica’s Annmarie Duffs third.
Competition in the Heptathlon has been less exciting than normal, with only three athletes facing the starter’s pistol for the 110m Hurdles. Darion Duncombe won that event in 16.03 seconds from the Turks & Caicos pair of Dorodo Fulford and Anthony Clarke. He won Long Jump with a mark of 6.62m, whilst Fulford threw 49.39m to win Javelin Throw, but Duncombe returned to win the 200m dash in 22.42 seconds. He leads overnight on 2801 points, with Fulford on 2596 and Clarke on 2295.
3000m gold stays in St Lucia
Shawn Adams took silver for St Lucia at CARIFTA 2002 in the 300m under-17 boys. That was the country’s only medal success in that event. But on Sunday, Rolstan Pamphile took off at a very hot pace, variously challenged by teammate Silverius Vidal, Trinidad & Tobago’s Nicholas Landeau and Mark London, the latter eventually settling for third, and eventual silver medallist Trey Simons of Bermuda. But Pamphile, who ended up seven seconds outside of WYC qualifying, fended off all challengers, and brought the home team its second title.
Rounding out Day 3, Twishana Williams led a Jamaica 1-2 with Sharlene Brown in the 300m women’s open, Ashley Berry third for Bermuda. Sasha Gaye Marston similarly led a Jamaica 1-2 with Kellion Nibb in the Discus Throw under-17 girls, Anestecia Daire of Trinidad & Tobago third. There was a TNT 1-2 in the Javelin Throw under-17 boys, Keshorn Walcott’s 59.30m just eight centimetres off the CARIFTA record and less than a metre from WYC qualification. Compatriot Andwele Korede was second, Byron Ferguson of Bahamas third. And Micara Vassell took Shot Put under-20 gold for Jamaica, Hilenn James of Trinidad & Tobago and Anne-Caroline Ducados of Martinique completing the rostrum.
Monday (13) will see the conclusion of what should be very exciting series in the 200m and 800m, as well as Kemoy Campbell taking on his own 5000m record, the rest of the region challenging Jamaica in the mile relays, Kierre Beckles perhaps versus the clock in her 100m Hurdles, Quincy Wilson looking to do the double, and the home team anticipating a strong finishing kick as St Lucia looks to its medal hopes in the Long Jump under-20 men and Triple Jump under-20 women, both of which events they ended in fourth last year.
Terry Finisterre for the IAAF
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