Port of Spain, Trinidad & TobagoJamaica swept the sprint events on (14 July) Friday's opening day of the XVII Central American and Caribbean Junior Track & Field Championships at the Hasely Crawford stadium.
Jamaica secured the Under-20 events when Schillonie Calvert, the bronze medallist from last year's World Youth Championships, secured victory in 11.39 seconds ahead of Bahamian Sheniqua Ferguson (11.67) while Yohan Blake ran a personal best of 10.33 seconds, unchallenged for the boys' title.
Though it was his personal best, Blake, one of the region's best junior sprinters, said the time was far from his best. "That 10.33 wasn't my best, I can do better than that," Blake, a former Carifta Under-17 sprint double champion, said.
Trailing Trinidad & Tobago's Keston Bledman after the first couple strides, Blake used his top end speed to dispatch the field and win comfortable. "It wasn't easy at the start, so I had to use my top end speed to get back in the race," added Blake. Bledman finished second in 10.39 seconds.
In the Under-17 section, Nickel Ashmeade (10.60) and Dexter Lee (10.68 ) took first and second while Carrie Russell (11.79) and Denielle Jeffrey (11.84) finished first and third in the girls' event, rounding off an impressive achievement for Jamaica.
Earlier, under wet conditions, Jamaica dominated from the opening few events when Alain Bailey (7.89m) and Taneisha Blair (44.89m) struck gold medals in the Under-20 boys' Long Jump and girls' Javelin Throw respectively. Both established new Championship record marks.
Blair, who beat Tracey Morrison of Bahamas (44.69m) with her final throw, was not too please with her day's work. "I am just disappointed with the distance," she said after failing to make the World Junior qualifying mark of 49.50m. She blamed the disappointment on the small number of entries, three, which gave her little time to rest or settle. "We didn't get enough time between throws, and that kind of mess it up," she added.
Bailey whose personal best and Championship record was good enough to beat Rudon Bastian of Bahamas ( 7.55m) and teammate Nicholas Gordon (7.30m), was pleased with his performance. "I am happy with my performance as it was the best jump of the season," said Bailey after erasing the 22-year-old Championships of Eduardo Nava of Mexico.
Jamaica's World Junior Championships 400m hurdles bronze medallist Sherene Pinnock, Barbadian Deandra Dottin, and Jamy Franco of Guatemala, were also in record breaking form.
Pinnock won the girl's Under-20 400m Hurdles in 57.09 seconds to erase the previous mark of 57.84 set by Yusmelis Garcia of Cuba in 2002. Dottin (39.92m) re-wrote the girls' Javelin Throw Under-17 mark of 37.96m, while Franco race walked 20:24.68 to erased eight-year-old Under-17 4000m previous mark of 20:44.48.
Mexico finished one-two in the boys' Under-20 1500m with Diego A Borrengo (3: 52.04) and Josue Ramirez Monroy (3:55.18) while Gavyn Nero of Trinidad & Tobago (4:02.95) won the Under-17 event.
Jamaica's Jodian Richards ran away with the girls' Under-20 1500m title in 4: 33.77 seconds while Natoya Goule captured the Under-17 1200m in 3:33.74.
Anthony Foster for the IAAF
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