The USA renewed its dominance at the 4th NACAC under-23 Championships, held at the Felix Sanchez stadium in Santo Domingo (7 - 9 July), with the attendance of over 500 athletes from 28 countries.
The large US delegation of 87 members went unchallenged during the three days of competition, winning medals in almost all events they entered. They collected 59 medals (28 gold, 22 silver and nine bronze), followed by Cuba (9-3-8), which made its debut at the event, after being absent in the last three editions.
Jamaica (2-2-2), El Salvador (2-0-0), Bahamas (1-3-1), Trinidad and Tobago (1-1-2) and Saint Lucia (1-0-0) claimed at least one title, followed by Mexico (0-4-3), Canada (0-3-12), the Dominican Republic (0-2-0), Puerto Rico (0-1-5), Bermuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with a bronze each.
Santo Domingo was clearly better than the past three editions as 36 new championships records were set from the 44 events staged.
Amarachi Ukabam of the US was the only individual double winner as she took the Shot Put and Discus Throw titles.
Cleo Tyson, first in the 100m, Shalonda Solomon, the 200m champion and Shana Cox, the 400m winner, added a second gold as part of the US relay teams.
Solomon, two-time World Junior champion (200m and 4x100) was a triple medallist as she finished second in the 100m.
There were only two athletes who successful defended their titles, coincidentally in the women’s and men’s Javelin Throw, with USA´s Dana Pounds and Eric Brown repeating their success from Sherbrooke 2004.
Ken Ferguson and Garrett Johnson produced the most notable performances of the weekend. Ferguson, the 2003 Pan American Junior champion, broke the 400m Hurdles event record to 49.30 seconds in the semifinal and then to 48.80 in the final, while Johnson took the Shot to 20.64m.
The USA went empty-handed only in the men’s Long Jump and the 20km Race Walk.
Derrick Atkins was the fastest man on the Santo Domingo track, where he erased the 25-year old Bahamian 100m record of 10.18, shared by three men. He won his semifinal in 10.14, before grabbing the gold in 10.15.
Cuba was led by jumpers, taking five of the Island’s nine gold medals. Long jumpers Wilfredo Martínez (8.03) and Olympian Yudelkis Fernández (6.60), triple jumpers Yariana Martínez (14.28) and Osniel Tosca (17.01) all smashed the meet records, as well as Mayoris Sánchez in the Pole Vault (4.20).
Ricardo Chambers, the 2006 NCAA silver medallist, headed the Jamaican squad with the 400m gold and anchored in the 4x400m relay to a new event record of 3:03.86.
Josanne Lucas gave Trinidad and Tobago its only gold when winning the 400m hurdles in a season’s best of 55.99, only 0.40 off her national record. She was also second in the 100m Hurdles and anchored her team to third in the 4x400m relay.
The small country of El Salvador well represented the Central American region with the two wins in the Race Walks, thanks to Salvador Mira and Verónica Colindres.
The first two editions of the NACAC U-23 Championships – Monterrey (2000) and San Antonio (2002) - were held for athletes aged under 25 years. In Sherbrooke 2004 on, the event was standardized to under 23 athletes.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
Here are all the 2006 NACAC Under 23 champions:
100m Derrick Atkins BAH 10.15 (1.2), 10.14 CR in SF
200m Otis McDaniel USA 20.61 (-0.1) CR
400m Ricardo Chambers JAM 45.09 CR
800m Duane Solomon USA 1:48.96
1500m Maury Castillo CUB 3:47.52 CR
5000m Aaron Aguayo USA 14:54.55
10000m John Moore USA 30:16.03 CR
3.000m ST Jose A. Sánchez CUB 9:06.42
110m H Dominic Berger USA 13.78 (13.61-SF, CR)
400m H Ken Ferguson USA 48.80 CR
HJ Keith Moffatt USA 2.27 CR
PV Brad Gabauer USA 5.51 CR
LJ Wilfredo Martínez CUB 8.03m (0.1) CR
TJ Osniel Tosca CUB 17.01m (0.5) CR
SP Garrett Johnson USA 20.64 CR
DT Adam Kuehl USA 59.04m CR
HT Nick Owens USA 67.87
JT Eric Brown USA 68.79
Decathlon Chris Richardson USA 7243 CR
20km Walk Salvador Mira ESA 1:31:42 CR
4x100m USA 39.38
Gary Jones, Greg Bolden, Chris Hargrett, Carlos Moore
4x400m Jamaica 3:03.86 CR
Huntley Thomas, Leford Green, Brian Steele, Ricardo Chambers
100m Cleo Tyson USA 11.25 (1.0) CR
200m Shalonda Solomon USA 22.90 (0.5) CR
400m Shana Cox USA 51.15 CR
800m Alysia Johnson USA 2:03.87 CR
1500m Shannon Rowbury USA 4:20.57 CR
5000m Yudisleidis Castillo CUB 16:22.39 CR
10.000m Stephanie Rothstein USA 37:57.94 CR
3000m ST Anna Willard USA 10:23.23 CR
100m H Dawn Harper USA 13.06 (0.4)
400m H Josanne Lucas TRT 55.99 CR
HJ Levern Spencer LCA 1.81
PV Maryuris Sanchez CUB 4.20m CR
LJ Yudelkis Fernández CUB 6.60m (1.0) CR
TJ Yariana Martínez CUB 14.28 (0.3) CR
SP Amarachi Ukabam USA 16.82
DT Amarachi Ukabam USA 53.45m CR
HT Brittany Riley USA 66.30m CR
JT Dana Pounds USA 55.24m CR
Heptatlón Gretchen Quintana CUB 5810 CR
10.000m Walk Verónica Colindres ESA 50:29.00 CR
4X100m USA 43.53 CR
Brooklyn Morris, Cleo Tyson, Shareese Woods, Shalonda Solomon
4x400m USA 3:29.05 CR
Ashley Kidd, Natasha Hastings, Deonna Lawrence, Shana Cox
CR- Championships Records