CARIFTA preview

Thursday, 20 March 2008 All eyes on Blake – CARIFTA Games, PREVIEW

Yohan Blake won the Carifta Games Under-20 title in a Jamaican Junior record of 10.18 in the first round and lowered it to 10.11 in the final. (Anthony Foster)

relnews All eyes will be on Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, currently the world’s fastest junior, at this weekend’s 33rd CARIFTA Games to be staged at the Birdrock Athletics Stadium in St Kitts. The Games will be attended by IAAF President Lamine Diack.

Blake, 18, a World Junior Championships bronze medallist, clocked a 10.11 seconds national junior and Games’ record to win last year’s title in Turks and Caicos. This year he is aiming at a faster time with a hope of breaking the World junior record.

At last week’s Jamaica High School Championships, Blake targeted Trinidad & Tobago’s Darrel Brown’s World junior record of 10.01 seconds but fell well short of even his personal best as he won in 10.27 seconds.

However, Blake has again made yet another promise. “I did not run fast at Champs, so, I just have to go Carifta and prove myself once again,” he added while pointing to last year’s Carifta where he broke the national junior record in the heats and again in the final.

Blake’s compatriot Dexter Lee, the World Youth 100m champion, is seen as the only competition.

In the girls’ Under-20 event, Jamaica’s Jura Levy who lost to World Junior Championships bronze medallist Carrie Russell at Carifta Games, but returned to beat her at last weekend at the Jamaica High School Championships, should start as the favourite with her personal best 11.46 seconds.

However, Bahamian Krystal Bodie, who was third at last year’s Games, in 11.63 seconds, along with Antiguan Anika Baptiste, who won 100 metre gold in the Girls’ Under-17 category in 2005 and at one time ranked No.4 among the world’s juniors with a personal best 11.49, should challenge the Jamaicans.

Bodie, who ran 13.71 seconds last weekend for Southwest Mississippi, should seriously challenge Jamaica’s duo of Rose-Marie Carty and Janelle Gordon in the Under-20 girls’ 100m Hurdles.

In the boys’ Under-20 200m, it is expected that Jamaica will have things their way. World Youth champion Ramone McKenzie, who won last year’s event in 20.58 seconds, and Nickel Ashmeade, the World Youth 100m silver medallist and 200m bronze medallist, who defeated McKenzie on the weekend, look good for a Jamaican one-two.

Bahamian Nivea Smith, a bronze medallist at last year’s World Youths, in 23.69 seconds, should fancy her chances in the girls’ Under-20 200m against Baptiste, whose personal best is 23.73, along Levy and Russell.

Bahamian Demetrius Pinder, who won the Junior College Indoor Championships, should start with the favourite tag in the boys’ Under-20 400, but Jamaica’s Darrion Bent and Dwayne Extol will keep close touch.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Gavin Nero should be the star in the boys’ Under-20 800m. With a personal best of 1:50.19, Nero and Jamaica’s Theon O’Connor, whose personal best is 1:50.44, should battle to the finish.

In the girls’ event, Natoya Goule with a personal best 2:08.37, seeks her first glory at the Under-20 level after securing the 800m, 1500m double at the Under-17 level for three consecutive year.

Action in the Under-17 category should be as equally competitive, but again, regional powerhouse Jamaica should also dominate this section.

Anthony Foster for the IAAF

Sunday, 23 March 2008 37th CARIFTA Games open in St. Kitts

Jamaica’s Waquar DaCosta winning the CARIFTA Under-17 boys’ 1500m in St. Kitts (Anthony Foster)

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Jamaica’s World Junior Championships bronze medallists Yohan Blake and Carrie Russell won the male and female senior 100m titles on a wet afternoon when Dominica’s Dillion Simon re-wrote the record books at Saturday’s opening day of the 37th CARIFTA Games at the Bird Rock Athletics Stadium.

Many of the stars of these Games will go on to compete and medal st this summer’s 12th IAAF World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland, 8 - 13 July 2008.

Watching the first day’s action at the CARIFTA Games were St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, IAAF President Lamine Diack and IAAF Council Member Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook, who is the Area Representative.

Windy 10.20 in semis

Blake, 18, with a national junior and Games’ record in 2007 of 10.11 seconds, secured the senior boys’ 100m title in 10.32. He had earlier run 10.20 with a massive supporting wind (4.7m/s) in the semi-finals. Blake’s teammate and World Youth champion Dexter Lee was second in 10.48 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago’s Joel Dillion (10.57).

Russell, supported by a 2.5m/s wind, took the girls’ title in 11.39 seconds. Hometown girl Meritzer Williams took second in 11.41 and Bahamian Sheniqua Ferguson was third in 11.50.

Simon’s record came in the boys’ Under-17 Shot Put. He propelled the shot 16.63m to break the previous mark of 16.27m set by Quincy Wilson last year.

In the Under-17 100m, Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye and Geno Jones took top honours. Ahye took the girls’ title in 11.66 seconds ahead Alison Peter of United States Virgin Islands (11.91) and V’Alonnee Robinson of Bahamas (11.91).

Jones won the boys’ race in 10.76 seconds ahead of Trinidad & Tobago’s Moriba Morain (10.84) and Netherland Antilles’ Christopher Garia (11.00).

Grenada won both sections of the boys’ 400m. Kirani James, a silver medallist at last year’s World Youth Championships, took the Under-17 title in 47.87 ahead of Jamaica pair of Javere Bell (49.08) and Nolan Williams (49.34) while Rondell Bartholomew won the Under-20 section in 46.86.

In the girls’ 400m, Jamaica with Shericka Jackson (54.52) and Sandrae Farquharson (54.56) were first and second respectively in the Under-17 section, while Trinidad & Tobago’s Janeil Bellille (53.57) beat Jamaica’s pair of Kayon Robinson (53.77) and Alecia Cutenar (54.05).

The region’s teenage middle distance king, Gavyn Nero of Trinidad & Tobago, captured the boys’ Under-20 1500m in 3:56.14 ahead of Jamaica’s pair of Kemoy Campbell (3:56.80) and Conroy Crossman (3:59.36), while Jamaica’s Waquar DaCosta (4:09.78) won the boys’ Under-17 title, beating Barbados duo of Matthew Wright (4:10.44) and Ibrahim Hinds (4:47.48).

Natoya Goule of Jamaica (4:33.69) and Mackola Joseph (4:45.22) gave Jamaica a one-two finish in the girls’ Under-20 1500m while Antigua and Barbuda’s Kenryca Francis (4:48.82) beat Jamaica’s Carla Thompson (4:52.34) for the Under-17 title.

In the field, Raymond Higgs of Bahamas (2.10m) beat Jamaica’s Machel Baker (2.05m) in the boys’ Under-20 High Jump; Martinique’s Daniella Sacama-Isidore (6.03m) beat Guadeloupe’s Gaelle Gendrey (6.02m) for the girls’ Long Jump title; Bahamas’ V’Alonne Robinson (5.82m) beat Jamaica’s Janieve Russell (5.72m) in the girls’ Under-17 Long Jump.

Anthony Foster for the IAAF

Monday, 24 March 2008 Records fall – CARIFTA Games, Day TWO

Salcia Slack after running 2:14.53 in the 800m for the girls’ Pentathlon open - 2008 CARIFTA Games (Anthony Foster)

relnews Basseterre, St. Kitts - Four Games’ records were broken on Sunday’s (23) penultimate day of the 37th CARIFTA Games here at the Bird Rock Stadium.

Bahamian Nejmi Burnside accounted for the day’s first record when he ran 52.81 seconds in the boys’ Under-17 400m Hurdles. Burnside’s time bettered the 52.97 Jamaica’s Ricardo Melbourne produced for gold in 1998. Barbados’ Tyrell Forde (55.08) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Omar Charles (55.29) were second and third respectively.

In the girls’ Under-20 sprint relay, the Bahamas’ quartet of Sheniqua Ferguson, Krystal Bodie, Cache Armbrister and Nivea Smith, backed by over 4000 cheering fans, raced to a 44.36 seconds win to beat the previous mark of 44.42 held by Jamaica since 2003.

Jamaica with 100m champion and World Junior bronze medallist Carrie Russell on anchor, finished second in 44.90, while Barbados were third in 45.75.

Jamaica’s K’Don Samuels and Salcia Slack accounted for the day’s other records, which came in the boys’ Under-20 Pole Vault and girls’ open Pentathlon respectively.

Samuels cleared the bar at 4.60 metres to beat the 21-year-old mark of 4.26m - held jointly by B. Johnson of Bahamas and M. Godfrey of Jamaica, while Slack tallied 3935 points in the five-event discipline to secure her record, which bettered the previous her countrywoman Nadina Marsh’s 3868 points achieved in 2003.

“It feels good and it makes me feel very proud of myself,” admitted a delighted Slack. “It’s my last year as a junior so I decided (that) I wanted to leave something, so I was aiming to break this record,” said the 18-year-old.

Slack also finished second in the girls’ Triple Jump with 12.81m. Keisha Willix of Martinique won the event with a leap of 12.91m.

Meanwhile, Andre Peart and Kerion Stewart secured a one-two finish for Jamaica in the 400m Hurdles Under-20 boys’ event. Peart won in 51.81 ahead of Stewart (53.05) while Trinidad & Tobago’s Jahue Gordon (53.18) was third.

In the girls’ Under-20 400m Hurdles, Janiel Bellille of Trinidad & Tobago won in 58.08 ahead of Jamaica’s pair of Shana-Gaye Tracey (58.17) and Nikita Tracey (59.69). In the 300m Hurdles, Danielle Dowie stormed to victory in 42.63 seconds to beat Barbados’ pair of Kenrisha Brathwaite (43.61) and Sade Mariah Greenidge (44.61).

Peta-Gaye Reid of Jamaica won the girls’ Under-17 High Jump with a leap of 1.74m. She beat Akela Jones of Barbados (1.71m) and Deandra Daniel of Trinidad & Tobago (1.65m).

In the Under-17 boys’ Triple Jump, Trinidad & Tobago’s Elton Walcott (14.66m) beat Jamaica’s pair Jonathan Reid (14.17m) and Julian Forte (13.59m), who finished second and third respectively.

In the girls’ 3000m open, Jamaica’s Neisha Morgan, who trailed Guyanese Alika Morgan up to the final 100m, found something extra metres from the tape, to secure a close victory in 10:15.22. Alika Morgan was second in 10:15.28.

Jamaica won both girls’ Discus Throws. Genneva Greaves (44.68m) beat her teammate Candicea Bernard (40.29) for the girls’ Under-20 title, while Monique Henry (34.02m) beat Barbados’ Kyshona Knight (32.86) in the Under-17 category.

Peta-Gaye Reid (1.74m) beat Akela Jones (1.71m) in the girls’ Under-17 High Jump.

Entering today’s final day, Jamaica lead the medal’s table with 16-gold, 18-silver, 9-bronze ahead of Trinidad & Tobago 7-gold, 4-silver, 6-bronze and Bahamas 6-gold, 2-silver, 6-bronze.

Anthony Foster for the IAAF

Tuesday, 25 March 2008 Beckles already eyeing Bydgoszcz, as CARIFTA Games close –


Barbados’ Kierre Beckles at the 2008 CARIFTA with Austin Sealy award (Freelance)

relnews Basseterre, St. Kitts - Barbados’ Kierre Beckles, the Games’ top performer, was among four record breakers on Monday’s final day (24) of the 37th CARIFTA Games here at the Bird Rock Athletics Stadium.

Jamaica’s three decade dominance continued as they finished atop the medal table with 69 medals – 29 gold, 25 silver and 15 bronze. Trinidad & Tobago finished second with 30 (10G, 10S, 10B) while Bahamas (8G, 3S, 12B); Barbados (7G, 10S, 9B) and Martinique (5G, 3S, 6B) completed the top five teams.

Beckles impressive

In the girls’ Under-20 100m Hurdles final, Beckles raced to an impressive 13.43 seconds clocking to erase Jamaica’s Shermaine Williams’ one-year-old mark of 13.51. Jamaica’s Rosemarie Carty was second in 13.63, while Bahamian Krystal Bodie finished third in 13.72.

Beckles walked away with the Austin Sealy award after been voted the Games’ Top Performer. She was delighted with for performance and already has her eyes set on this summer’s 12th IAAF World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland, 8 - 13 July 2008.

“I am very proud of my performance,” she said.

However, she added: “I was going for a 13.2, but it was close … so come the World Juniors I feel I will get there or even close to 13.1,” added Beckles, who also expressed satisfaction with her award.

And three other Games’ record breakers too

Other record breakers on the day were Jamaica’s World Youth representatives Natoya Goule and Kemoy Campbell, along with Bahamian Aaron Wilmore.

In the boys’ 5000m open, Campbell destroyed a large field on his way to an impressive 14:46.51 seconds clocking, which beat the Grenadian Maurice Williams’ 27-year-old mark of 14:58.23. Christian Rock of Barbados (15:57.99) was second.

Goule, who had earlier won the 1500m gold, ran a personal best 2:05.90 to beat Mellisa De Leon’s of Trinidad & Tobago 10-year-old mark of 2:06.83. She completed the 800m/1500m double by defeated Trinidad & Tobago’s pair of Afiya Walker (2:10.20) and Jessica James (2:11.07).

Goule was pleased with her performance. “This race was comfortable,” she said. “I could have pushed more, but I did not want to blaze too much and don’t get to PR, but 2:05.90 … I am very proud of myself.”

“I know my coach (Jerry Holness) will be very proud also,” she added. "I wanted to run 2:06 at the Jamaica High School Championships, but did not, so I am glad that I came here and get it (PR).”

The day’s fourth record was in the boys’ Under-17 100m hurdles. Aaron Wilmore, who ran unchallenged, took victory in 12.88 to beat the previous mark of 13.12 set by Romaine Gordon of Jamaica in 2003.

Wilmore beat Tyrell Forde of Barbados (13.13) and Jamaica’s D’Omar Boyden (13.49) finished second and third respectively.

Very windy (5.2m/s) 20.16 for 200m

In the boys’ Under-20 200m, Ashmeade, supported by a 5.2 mps wind, stormed to victory in 20.16 seconds ahead of World Youth 200m champion Ramone McKenzie (20.33) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Kendall Bacchus (20.78).

Ashemade, who won the 100m silver and 200m bronze at last year’s World Youth Championships, was happy with the end result. “I went out there just to do my best, and despite the fact that I was feeling a little pain, I was able to do my best, so I am satisfied.”

“One-two for Jamaica and I am very happy for that,” he added.

In the girls’ Under-20 200m, Bahamian Nivea Smith (23.01) beat St. Kitts and Nevis’ (23.11) and Jamaica’s Jura Levy (23.28 PR). Grenada’s Kirani James (21.38) completed the 200m/400m double when he defeated Moriba Morain of Trinidad & Tobago (21.74) and Jamaica’s Earl Lee (21.89) in the boys’ Under-17 200m.

In the boys’ 110m Hurdles, Jamaica’s Keiron Stewart dominated from start to finish to win in an impressive 13.50 seconds, one hundredths of a second outside his own national junior record, done last year for silver in Turks and Caicos.

Stewart, running in a negative wind, defeated his teammate Warren Weir, who celebrated Jamaica’s one-two even before he crosses the line in 14.13 seconds.

Barbados’ Kenrisha Brathwaite (14.04) beat Jamaica’s Samantha Elliott (14.17) in the girls’ Under-17 100m Hurdles.

Middle distance double

In the 800m events, Jamaica won all but the boys’ Under-20, which went to Trinidad & Tobago’s Gavyn Nero (1:51.94). Nero beat Jamaica’s Theon O’Connor (1:52.49) and Bermuda’s Aaron Evans (1:52.61) to capture the 800m/1500m double.

Chantal Duncan (2:13.46) and Ristananna Tracey (2:13.77) gave Jamaica a one-two finish in the girls’ Under-17 800m while Javere Bell (1:56.12) and Waquar DaCosta (1:58.99) finished first and third for Jamaica. Anthonio Mascoll of Barbados (1:56.68) was second.

In the infield

Robert Collingwood of Trinidad & Tobago won the boys’ Under-20 Shot Put with a 16.23 metres effort to beat Grenada’s Shakir Simons (15.93m) while Jamaica’s Rajae Gayle (48.54m) won the U17 Boys’ Discus Throw.

Turks and Caicos’ Wendrico Seymour scored a surprise win in the boys’ Under-17 Long Jump at 6.86 metres while T&T’s Kyron Blaise (15.76m) beat Jamaican Tarik Batchelor (15.49m) in the Under-20 boys’ Triple Jump.

Jamaican relay monopoly

Meanwhile, Jamaica ended the three-day in impressive fashion with victories in all four 4x400m relays.

In the Under-17 girls, the quartet of Petra Fany, Shericka Jackson, Danielle Dowie, and Sandrae Farquharson started things off with victory in 3:39.62 ahead of St. Kitts & Nevis (3:49.13).

The boys’ Under-17 team of Nolan Williams, Rolando Reid, A-Shawni Mitchell and Javere Bell won in 3:19.26 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago (3:21.20).

In the Under-20 section, the girls’ quartet of Kayon Robinson, Shana-Gaye Tracey, Nikita Tracey and Alecia Cutenar won in 3:39.12 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago (3:43.63) while the boys’ team made of 110m Hurdles champion Keiron Stewart, Ramone Mckenzie, 200m champion Nickel Ashmeade and 400m hurdles winner Andre Peart finished in 3:09.71 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago (3:11.34).

Anthony Foster for the IAAF