Akela Jones?is making a habit of delivering Barbados’ first gold medal at major meets.
Yesterday morning at the 19th Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Junior Championships in El Salvador, Jones not only struck gold in the Under-18 girls’ long jump, she set a new junior national record and shattered a 28-year championship record.
Jones leaped 6.36 metres (0.1 wind), replacing Cuban Anna Winter’s 6.12m which stood since 1984.
Cuba’s Paula Alvarez Ross was second in 6.17m and Claudette Allen of Jamaica a distant third in 5.87 metres.
Last Sunday at the National Championships, Jones did 6.35m to raise her mark from 6.28. Once ratified, this will become the new Barbados junior record. She also won Barbados’ first gold medal at the CARIFTA Games in 2011 and 2012.
Thrower Tristan Whitehall was a surprise bronze medallist in the Under-20 boys’ shot put, also with a new junior national record. He had already broken Daley Harris’ eight-year mark of 16.22 metres earlier this season when he did the qualifying throw of 16.28m and Whitehall raised the standard with a personal best 16.87 metres.
It was the same distance as CARIFTA silver medallist Emmanuel Oniya who threw 18.89 in Bermuda, but Whitehall won on the count-back, with a better second throw. Jamaica’s Ashinia Miller, the CARIFTA champion, set a new meet record of 19.70 metres and Trinidad’s Hezekiel Romeo took silver with 18.69m.
Romario Antoine (15.45M) was fifth in the Under-18 boys’ final which was won by Mexico’s Mario Lozano Flores with 18.92m.
With Jones setting the standard, it was a very good morning for Barbados.
In the 800 metres, Jerrad Mason (1 minute 56.57 seconds) and John Haynes (1:58.96) both reached the Under-18 boys’ final and Anthonio Mascoll advanced with 1:53.09 in the Under-20 division. Sonia Gaskin’s race was a straight final.
Mario Burke had a personal best 10.65 (0.4 wind) and joined Levi Cadogan (10.64) in the final of the Under-18 boys’ 100 metres.
Tia-Adana Belle and Shakera Hall booked their places in the final of the Under-18 girls’ 400m hurdles with times of 1:02.83 and 1:03.58, respectively. Dario Scantlebury advanced to the final of the boys’ race with 54 seconds flat and Kion Joseph the Under-20 boys’ race with 53.27 seconds.
The lone casualty in the morning session was Tramaine Maloney with 55.87 in the hurdles, more than three seconds slower than his best time this season.