TIRED BUT PROUD!The first batch of Barbadian athletes returned home yesterday morning after a sterling performance at the 2010 Caribbean Union of Teachers Games in St Kitts.Greeted by National Sports Council chairman Seibert Straughn, parents and well-wishers, the youngsters displayed some of the 36 medals, comprising 15 gold, ten silver and 11 bronze which they won during the intense two-day meet.Barbados finished second at the biennial meet behind perennial champions Jamaica, who had 44 medals (22-13-9) and ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (6-8-6-20), The Bahamas (6-2-8-16) and the hosts (5-9-4-18).
Under-13 championIn addition, Tristan Evelyn was crowned Under-13 champion and also shared the victrix ludorum title with Olujede Bridgewater of St Kitts, who dominated the Under-9 division. Jamahl Burke won the Under-11 boys’ age group after placing second in the 100 metres and winning bronze in the long jump and 200m.Assistant manager Janelle Denny, who screamed herself hoarse supporting the children, said they were pleased, especially since the standard was very high.“They really worked hard coming up to the competition and for the most part they executed rather well. It was an improvement over the last two years. Jamaica [usually] beat us by over 100 points and they were only able to beat us by 33. Actually, they admitted to us that we had them very nervous,” Denny said.“We feel very proud of our efforts, and going into the future I think our team is going to be stronger because our Under-9s, Under-11s and Under-13s really stepped up and as they move up into other divisions I think we are going to have a stronger team.”Evelyn said she was proud of herself after winning gold medals in the 100, 200, and 4×100 and silver in the cricket ball throw. Despite carrying an injury, she said it was “easy” coming back down to her age group after competing against the women and older girls here at home.On Sunday evening, the team won eight more medals. Evelyn won the Under-13 girls’ 200m and was second in the cricket ball throw; Ajani Haddock won the Under-9 boys’ 150m and Rico Hurley the Under-13 boys’ shot put. Jalisa Burrowes was second in the Under-15 girls’ long jump, and in addition to Burke’s bronze medal in the 200m Nashandi Clarke was third in the Under-11 girls’ cricket ball throw; Joash Best secured bronze in the Under-13 boys’ 200 and Lelani Haddock did likewise in the Under-9 girls’ 150m.The team finished outside the medals in the 800 metres and the medley relays.Both the Government and the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) need to pay greater attention to the Caribbean Union of Teachers Games (CUT) because it is the nursery of athletics.Describing the meet as “junior CARIFTA” assistant manager Denny said it gave an eye to the future, but because it was under the auspices of the Barbados Union of Teachers and was a teachers’ meet, it was largely ignored.Speaking moments after arriving from the games in St Kitts yesterday morning, Denny said Government needed to strengthen the school system, while the AAA needed to strengthen the club structure.“We have a lot of talent coming up and if we don’t nurture it we are going to lose it.“Government and all of the agencies responsible for track and field really need to take a more concerted effort to have a serious interest in CUT. “Because it is a teacher’s event doesn’t mean that it doesn’t count. You have to take an interest because essentially it is the future of track and field.“The CUT meet right now is essentially junior CARIFTA. It gives you that window of opportunity of seeing what can happen come CARIFTA time, and it is important that we really harness our athletes’ talents,” Denny said.