Nicholas Deshong (right) of Quantum Leap edging Antonio Hoyte-Small of Rising Stars in the men’s 400 metres. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
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The pace was fairly hot on the track with some early speed as ten athletes reached the new qualifying standards for Easter’s CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas during Saturday’s January Classic at the National Stadium.
There were three first-time CARIFTA qualifiers in long jumper Dominique Wood, hurdler Sarah Belle and middle distance runner, Tafari Bishop.
They were joined by Ronaldo Rock, Kyle Gale, Antoni Hoyte-Small, who hit their marks on the track while Triston Gibbons, Shanice Hutson, Anderson Greaves and Jonathan Miller all achieved the necessary distances in field events.
The highlight was the qualification of double CARIFTA bronze medallist, Rock and newcomer Bishop, who matched strides in the Under-20 Boys’ 800 metres.
Rock, who has moved up to the senior division, staved off the challenge of a determined Bishop to win in 1:54.15 minutes, inside the 1:55 requirement.
Elite Distance’s Bishop finished second in a personal best 1:54.22 but with CARIFTA champion Jonathan Jones and Rio Williams among contenders vying for selection, one expects keen competition for the two spots on the team as the season continues.
Jones had earlier won the 1500 in 4:03.95 minutes, just outside the 4:03 needed, from his Elite club mates Joshua Hunte (4:07.92) and Williams (4:13.14).
Velocity Management’s Wood produced a huge leap of 5.67 metres, bettering the new 5.55 standard to secure early qualification while winning the Under-17 Girls’ long jump.
Her Christ Church Foundation and Velocity club mate Belle impressively hurdled her way to 14.36 seconds in surpassing the 14.40 qualifying yardstick for the Under-17 Girls’ 100-metre hurdles.
Improving Quantum Leap quarter-miler Gale, who was a member of the Under-18 Boys’ CARIFTA gold medal 4x400-relay quartet in Curacao last year, also had a remarkable run in the Under-17 Boys’ 400 metres.
Running virtually against the clock after leaving his opponents in his wake along the back straight, the St Michael schoolboy raced home in 48.13 seconds, inside the 48.90 standard.
His time was even faster than Rising Stars’ Hoyte-Small, who qualified among the Under-20 boys with 48.23, going inside the charitable 48.25 requirement as he pushed the more senior Nicholas Deshong (48.17) to the finish line.
Jaria Hoyte (57.61) won the Women’s 400 from her St Michael and Quantum Leap club mate Rhea Hoyte (58.09).
Elite’s duo Hutson and Gibbons, who had met the benchmark in the shot put at the Odd Distances and Field Events Meet the previous weekend, also qualified in the discus.
Hutson tossed the discus 37.15 metres, much further than the requisite 35 metres for Under-17 girls while southpaw Gibbons threw the 1.75 kilogram disc 54.03 metres, comfortably topping the obligatory 48.50 standard.
Greaves, who failed to qualify last year, leapt 7.21 metres to win the men’s long jump and exceed the required 7.20 metres.
Miller, who has switched from Lodge to The St Michael School after winning a CARIFTA silver medal in the Under-18 triple jump in Curacao, wasted little time in qualifying.
He will be competing in the senior Under-20 Boys’ division at CARIFTA this year but showed he is ready for the leap with his first hop, skip and jump, measuring 14.99 metres, above the 14.80 requirement.
There was just minimal excitement in the sprints as Velocity’s Tremaine Smith (11.14) triumphed in the men’s race after Matthew Clarke limped across the line while Quantum Leap’s Darian Clarke (11.22) easily took the Under-17 Boys’ race.
Velocity’s Tamika Inniss won the Women’s Open race in 12.77 seconds but Elite’s Aaliyah Alleyne (12.73) was the fastest on show, winning the Under-15 event.
Sprinter Ashlee Lowe, who has joined the Elite Distance Programme sped past Velocity’s Hannah Connell (25.54) to win the Women’s 200 metres in 25.23 seconds, well short of 24-second standard.
Josiah Atkins (21.52) won the Men’s 200 as he went close to the generous 21.40 seconds needed by the Under-20 boys for CARIFTA. (EZS)