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Akela wins high jump


SHERRYLYN A. TOPPIN in Montego Bay

Akela wins high jump

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AKELA JONES gave Barbados exactly the start the team needed Saturday morning as the 40th LIME CARIFTA Games got underway at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex.
One day after celebrating her 16th birthday, Jones successfully defended her title in the Under-17 girls’ high jump, winning back-to-back gold medals.
Sometimes your best isn’t good enough. Other times, less than your best is enough.
The latter was the case for Jones who was below last year’s CARIFTA record of 1.85 metres, but equalled her season’s best of 1.75 metres.
Jones entered the competition at 1.70 metres when six of the nine competitors had already been eliminated. She cleared that height on the first attempt, while Jamaican Krista Gay Taylor and Sharyanne Gijsbertha of the Netherlands Antilles were eliminated to take silver and bronze, respectively.
She was over at 1.75 metres on the first attempt and could have stopped with the gold medal secured, but she kept going for 1.80 metres. But as she has been doing all season, she ran up to the bar several times and didn’t take a jump before timing out.
Coaches and the Barbadian spectators in the stands cheered her on, but to no avail. She knocked down on the second attempt, made several more hesitation runs before waving to the officials to indicate she was done.
“It feels satisfactory,” she said after the win.
“I guess I just lacked confidence and when that happens, you just jump less. I can’t explain it. You would have to be a high jumper to go understand what I was going through out there. If I had more competition going into 1.80 I would have jumped, but the girls jumped well and I say congratulations to them.”
She will be back in action Saturday evening in the long jump.
“I am looking forward to jumping a personal best. I hope that the wind conditions would be a lot less, but either way, I will still go and do my best,” Jones added.
Meanwhile, Jamaican Travis Smikle gave it his all in going after the CARIFTA record of 63.11 metres in the Under-20 boys’ discus. He won gold with 62.84 metres, followed by Trinidad’s Akeem Stewart (51.50 metres) and Kellon Alexis of Grenada with 50.60 metres.
Adrian Williams of St Kitts and Nevis, winner of the Under-17 boys’ javelin last year, came back in devastating form with 60.15 metres to shatter the 11 year-record of 59.38 metres and teammate J’Anthon Sillidy took bronze with 55.01m. Denzil St Marthe of St Lucia won silver with 58.91m.
In the final event where medals were awarded in the morning session, Laurianne Laurendot of Guadeloupe snatched gold with 13.80 metres one centimetre ahead of Jamaica’s Kellion Knibb in the Under-20 Girls’ Shot Put. Edlyn Edgecombe of Antigua & Barbuda was third with 12.93 metres.
Apart from Jones, several other Barbadians were in action in the morning session. Daley Carter (14.41) and Kemar Jones (14.59) were first and second respectively the 110 metres hurdles and Jones also won the high jump with 6.52 metres in the open boys’ heptathlon. Carter was fifth with 6.09m and both are poised to win medals.
Shavonte Bradshaw was third in her 100 metres hurdles heat of the pentathlon, fifth overall in 15.34 seconds and third in the shot put with 10.36m.
Perennial champion Claudia Da Veiga of Martinique is leading the event having won both the hurdles (13.97 seconds) and the shot put (12.32 metres).

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