Port of Spain, TrinidadSixteenyear old World Junior 200m champion Usain Bolt from Jamaica dominated the sprinting at the 32nd Carifta Games (19-21 April 2003), which were held here in the hometown of World Junior 100m Champion Darrel Brown.
Bolt was presented with the Austin Sealy Award designating him the Top Athlete of the Games after his record performances of 20.43 in the 200m and 46.35 in the 400m. Bolt also participated in the 400m Relay where Jamaica won in a new record of 39.43sec and in the 4 x 400m Relay where they won in 3:09.70.
The Carifta Games is considered the Junior track and field championships of the Caribbean and many, including USA college coaches who visit annually for a recruiting pilgrimage, view it as one of the best junior meet in the world.
Darrel Brown broke his own record in the 100m for Boys Under-20 when he scorched the track in a time of 10.20, two hundredths of a second better than his record of 10.22. However, the anticipated showdown between Bolt and Brown did not materialize after Brown suffered a cramp in the 100m final.
Brown made history when as a college freshman he signed a contract with Nike, allowing him to run professionally while he was still in college. Bolt still attends high school in Jamaica. He is so young; he is still eligible for this year’s IAAF World Youth Championships.
The event was held at the Hasley Crawford Stadium, named after Trinidad and Tobago’s 1976 100m Olympic Gold Medallist. Both Bolt and Brown are following in the proud tradition of Caribbean world class sprinters. At the Montreal Olympics Jamaican Donald Quarrie won the 200m and Cuban Alberto Juantorena won both the 400m and 800m, becoming the only man in history to do so.
In Trinidad, Bolt helped Jamaica cruise to an overall victory in the Carifta Games with a record 76 medals, 39 gold, 23 silver, and 14 bronze. Host country Trinidad and Tobago placed second with twenty-eight medals, six gold medals, twelve silver, and ten bronzes. The Bahamas finished with 22 medals, three gold, six silver, and 13 bronze.
Records were broken in a total of eleven individual events and three relays.
Next year the Carifta Games will be held in Bermuda, after an absence of 24 years.
Alpheus Finlayson for the IAAF