Donald Thomas of The Bahamas competes in the men's High Jump qualification at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Jamaica dominates relays, Barrios and Ramos complete doubles as CAC Games conclude in Mayaguez

The 4x400m relay squads and decathlete Maurice Smith sealed Jamaica’s athletics dominance at the 21st Central American and Caribbean Games as the athletics program concluded on Friday (30).

Oral Thompson, 400m Hurdles winner Leford Green, Roxroy Cato and 400m runner-up Allodin Fothergill combined efforts to set a new Games record of 3:01.68 in the 4x400m Relay, just a tenth of a second faster than the time clocked by another Jamaican quartet in Cartagena 2006. Leford Green has run in both squads.

Bahamas came a close second in 3:01.82, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (3:04.07), the Dominican Republic (3:04.68) and hosts Puerto Rico (3:04.98). A few minutes earlier, the reggae girls had paved the way with a close win in 3:32.31.

Davita Prendagast, Nikita Tracey, Dominique Blake and Clora Williams held off the challenge of the Colombian quartet, who produced a national record of 3:33.03. Mexico came third in 3:33.33. Trinidad and Tobago (3:35.66) and the Dominican Republic (3:36.40) were both rewarded with national records.

Maurice Smith, the 2007 World Championships silver medallist, confirmed his dominance in the Decathlon with an 8109 total, just nine points shy of the CAC Games record, set by Cuba’s Raul Duany in 1998.

Smith ran 14.64 in the 110m Hurdles and extended his lead with a solid 48.18m effort in the Discus, followed by 4.60m in the Pole Vault, 58.88m in the Javelin and 4:46.14 in the 1500m.

Steven Marrero (7506) and Marcos Sanchez (7311) claimed silver and bronze for the host nation.

A close duel between 2007 World champion Donald Thomas and his compatriot Trevor Barry gave Bahamas its third athletics gold in Mayaguez. Both cleared 2.28m, but Thomas prevailed as he achieved the height on his first attempt. Colombia’s Wagner Miller completed the podium trio with 2.19m in a final of 14 jumpers.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Rhonda Watkins, the 2006 World junior champion, produced her second farthest legal leap in her life (6.67m) to break the 24-year old Games record (6.61m), set by Cuba’s Eloina Echevarria. The 22-year old was followed by Jamaica’s Jovanee Jarrett (6.52m) and Bahamas’ Bianca Stuart (6.50m).

Barrios and Ramos take double wins for host Puerto Rico

Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios and Puerto Rico’s Beverly Ramos completed their Games double victories.

Barrios renewed his 5000m title with a new Games record of 13:44.41, over five seconds faster than his former compatriot Arturo Barrios’s mark (13:49.89), set in 1990.

Barrios won the 1500m two days after celebrating his 27th birthday on Monday and then sealed his second consecutive 1500m/5000m double in the history of the Games.

His compatriot and 10,000m winner Juan Carlos Romero (13:56.17) and Guyana’s Cleveland Forde (14:08.95) rounded out the podium spots.

Ramos led the Puerto Rican squad with two gold medals and one bronze. The 22-year old first finished third in the 1500m and took the 5000m in a new Games record of 16:09.82.

On the last day of the athletics tournament, she became the first 3000m steeplechase female champion in the 84-year history of the Games and in the process broke her national record with a 9:59.03 effort. Colombia’s Angela Figueroa (10:18.28) and Sandra Lopez (10:18.88) joined her on this historic podium.

Despite the absence of Cuba, the Estadio Centroamericano José Antonio Figueroa Freyre witnessed great performances, especially on the track with over a dozen current and former World and Olympic medallists competing.

Jamaica topped the medal tally with 10 gold, seven silver and eight gold medals, followed by Mexico (7-6-11=24), Colombia (6-8-9), Puerto Rico (4-7-5), Venezuela (4-4-2), Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-5), Bahamas (3-2-1) and the Netherlands Antilles (2-0-1). 15 nations achieved at least one gold and 23 at least one medal.

A total of 12 Games records were improved and a new one was set. Over 5200 athletes from 31 countries have contested 42 sports since 18 July. The next edition will be held in Veracruz, Mexico, in 2014.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

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CAC Games records broken or set in Mayaguez:

Women -
200m Cydonie  Mothersill CAY 22.69
5,000m Beverly Ramos 16:09.82
3,000m ST Beverly Ramos PUR 24 AGO 1987 2 9:59.03
Pole Vault Keisa Monterola 4.20
Long Jump Rhonda Waktins TRT 6.67

Men -
200m Churandy Martina AHO 20.25
5,000m Juan Luis Barrios  13:44.41
400m Hurdles Leford Green JAM 48.47
Pole Vault Geovanni Lanaro MEX 5.60
20km Walk Eder Sanchez MEX 1:22:32
4x100m Trinidad and Tobago 38.24
4x400m Jamaica 3:01.68