AAA happy with CARIFTA show
The Barbados team has come in for more praise following the best performance in 14 years at the 40th LIME CARIFTA Games last week in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
This time, it is Esther Maynard, president of the Amateur Athletic Association of Barbados. Maynard was pleased with the 28 medals (nine gold, eight silver and ten bronze medals) the team won, and didn’t seem surprised by the performance.
A decision is still to be made on the final race, the men’s 4×400 metres relay, which originally had The Bahamas being disqualified and Barbados promoted to the bronze medal.
She believes one reason for the performances was the work done by motivator Mac Fingall who helped to build the confidence of the team and the strong sense of national pride the athletes demonstrated.
“I kept saying before we left that we had a solid team based on the number of times they repeated the performances and this held true to form. We had some mishaps like the dropped baton, but that happens to everyone and we also had some injuries,” Maynard said.
Injuries hit Dario Scantlebury, Nicholas Deshong and Deon Hope and this affected the individual showing as well as the composition of the relay teams.
“They gave an excellent account of themselves. It shows up the need to work more on the sprints, not only from 100 to 400 metres, but the relays. If you don’t have strong representation in those events, you don’t have strong representation in the relays.”
The only medal in the sprints was a bronze by Jerrad Mason in the Under-17 Boys’ 400 metres, and the Under-17 Girls’ 4×400 metres also won a silver medal. The girls’ 4×100 metre relay team was in medal contention when the baton pass between Akela Jones and Shakera Hall was fumbled.
“We need to concentrate and work on that. We are beginning to see some progress but we need to be more consistent if we are to break the stranglehold that the top three (Jamaica, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) have,” Maynard said.
“We are beginning to breakthrough in the longitudinal jumps, the long jump, and triple jump. It shows some development and we got three medals in the throws, but we need to carry multiple throwers, more than one athlete per age group.”
The president also responded to the suggestion by head coach Michael Worrell that the present team be kept together, expanded to widen the pool and train together at least twice a month. It is not the first time such a suggestion has been made and several attempts to have a junior squad have been unsuccessful.
“It is an excellent idea, but the development committee of the association would have to determine how that would be done. We don’t necessarily have the same people as coaches [all the time],” she said.
“It would be an advantage, but we need more people. It is not just the CARIFTA coaches. Athletes come from different clubs and we need to be on the same page, working towards the same goal.”
At this year’s CARIFTA congress, Maynard said a suggestion was made to bring the multi-events in line with what was happening at the international level. This means the pentathlon may be expanded to the heptathlon, and the boys’ heptathlon scrapped for the octathlon.
While there was uncertainty surrounding this year’s championships after St Kitts withdrew as hosts, there is no such worry over the 41st edition which is returning to Bermuda after seven years.
“Bermuda is on target. They gave a good report and have started to work in earnest. They had a few people there to observe and they have the full support of their Government. I don’t think we will be facing the same sort of challenges in Bermuda that we had this year. Jamaica is to be lauded for taking it on and organizing it in less than perfect time frame,” Maynard said.