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Last chance for Juniors to qualify

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

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Athletes who are hoping  to compete at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Junior Championships have less than one month to get in shape and impress the selectors for the July 2  to 4 meet in the Dominican Republic.The Barbados Olympians Classic, which will be held on June 12 and 13, will be the last chance to meet the qualifying standards which were set several months ago.“The major selection meet for  the juniors will be the Olympians Classic because nationals are  too close to the actual competition  to use that as a selection meet,”  Amateur Athletic Association president Esther Maynard told NATIONSPORT in a recent interview.“The juniors will have to put their qualifying performances in by the  12th and 13th of June. That is the meet they will have to compete at and go head-to-head at because the next meet  is too close to the actual travel date.”Maynard said approximately  25 athletes had met the qualifying standards following the conclusion of last month’s CARIFTA Games, but that  was not enough to guarantee selection.“It is not only qualifying  performance that merits it. It is the shape that you are in at the time  of selection,” she reiterated.The president expressed concern that some of those who had qualified had  not returned to competition since the CARIFTA Games which were held  in the Cayman Islands at Easter. She believes that many of the athletes were preparing for examinations and that was the reason why they had been absent.Maynard said that to date only six seniors had qualified for the August 22 to 28 CAC Games in Puerto Rico, based on the information they had received.She identified 110 metres hurdles World champion Ryan M. Brathwaite; national record holders Justin Cummins in the javelin, Henderson Dottin in the high jump and Kierre Beckles in the  100-metre hurdles; as well as Keisha Walkes in the shot put and Latoya Griffith in the 400-metre hurdles. Shane Brathwaite has qualified for the regional Under-23 championships in the 110  metres and 400 metres hurdles, respectively, while Griffith and Beckles are also eligible and Stephen Headley with 10:48 in the 100 metres.“I think we may have some other performances from some of the other hurdlers, but until we get confirmation, of things like wind reading and so on, those are the ones that I can [say] off hand.”Maynard said Barbados would like  to have “our best team out”, numbering between 15 and 20 athletes.This year’s National Championships will be held on the weekend of June 25 through 27.