Akela soars to gold
HAMILTON – With a leap of 6.18 metres, Akela Jones captured Barbados’ first gold medal here at the 2012 CARIFTA Games and also ended a 28-year medal drought in the Under-20 girls’ long jump.
The win carried Barbados’ medal tally to one gold, one silver and five bronze, and Jones’ personal haul to one of each after placing second in the high jump and anchoring the 4×100 metres relay team to third place.
Barbados haven’t won gold in the long jump since Catherine Richards jumped 5.83 metres in 1984, but Jones, who is no stranger to setting records, changed all of that with her first leap of 6.03 metres.
Although none of the other competitors passed the 5.90 mark, she kept trying to break the record of 6.39 metres, which was set in 1989, and the best leap came on her last attempt under blazing hot conditions here at the National Sports Centre.
Ingrid Boyce was the first Barbadian athlete to deliver gold in this event with 5.74 metres in 1981. National record holder Cherita Howard was a bronze medallist (5.68) in 1994, while physical education teachers Jennifer Swanston-Jones and Natalie Smith as well as former netball player/coach Agnes Riley, the wife of Jones’ coach Neil Crichlow, are among other medallists in this event.
Jamaica’s World Youth champion Chanice Porter didn’t compete, but her compatriots Janieve Russell (5.86) and Claudette Allen (5.85) took silver and bronze in a close battle.
In other finals contested yesterday morning, Jalisa Burrowes was fifth in the Under-17 girls’ long jump with a best leap of 5.55 metres.
Dannielle Gibson, of The Bahamas, claimed gold with a 5.89 leap and Jamaica were once again second and third through Samara Spencer (5.87 metres) and Tamara Moncrieffe (5.79 metres).
Ashinia Miller, of Jamaica, put the Under-20 boys’ shot 18.96 metres and his teammate Emmanuel Onyia took silver with 18.89 metres, while Hezekiel Romeo, of Trinidad and Tobago, took the bronze with 17.95 metres.
Barbadians Tristan Whitehall (16.16) and Romario Antoine (13.96) were out of the running early, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.
However, there was an impressive fight back into medal contention by heptathlete Klode Thompson, who was in eighth position after the first four events, hindered by his fall in the 110 metres hurdles.
The high jump specialist got 859 points by clearing 2.06 metres and moved into silver medal position. The best mark after that was 1.94 metres and Thompson remained there on 3 940 points with only the 1 500 metres remaining.
Grenada’s Toussaint Lindon jumped from sixth to first with 51.15 metres in the discus and leads with 4 111, while Rhys Phillips fell from second to fifth (3 761 points) after clearing only 1.64 metres in the high jump and throwing 32.72 metres in the discus.
Without any medals until the final event of the morning session, Grenada captured gold and silver in record-breaking style in the Under-17 boys’ javelin.
Anderson Peters threw 60.50 metres to break the 12-year record of 59.38 metres and Mickel Joseph took the silver with 59.95 metres. Denzel Pratt, of The Bahamas, was third with 59.33 metres.
Mario Burke (21.96) and Ariel Jackson (24.56) advanced to the respective finals of the 200 metres, but Akeem McCollin (23.15) and Levi Cadogan (21.84) were tenth and ninth, respectively and did not advance.
Tramaine Maloney (14.51) and Raphael Jordan (14.77) also reached the finals of the Under-20 boys’ 110 metres hurdles.