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The Bahamas collection

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

The Bahamas collection

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MIDWEEK SPORTS presents the first of a two-part series, looking back at previous CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas, ahead of this year’s edition in the country’s capital, Nassau, from March 29 to April 1.
The CARIFTA Games have been held in The Bahamas on six previous occasions.
The first time was in 1976, four years after the inaugural games were held here in Barbados.
With limited venues in the Caribbean at that time, the Games were back in The Bahamas in 1978 and three years later in 1981.
By 1984, some of those same athletes were once again competing on Bahamian soil, but eight years passed before they would host again in 1992 and as more countries along the island chain gradually improved their infrastructure, ten years would pass before the Games returned in 2002.
Over the first three editions of the CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas, Barbados won a total of 35 medals, including 12 gold, but never more than 12 medals at any meet.
In 1976, a handful of athletes won medals, but the toast of the Barbadian contingent was Trevor Small, who did the unprecedented treble, winning the Under-20 Boys’ 800 in 1 minute 54.5 seconds, the 1 500 in 4:03.8 and the now defunct 3 000 metres in 8:48.2.
The other gold medallist was Lavonne Roberts, who won the Under-20 girls’ 1500 in 4:49.
Also of note at those games were double silver medallist Eric Berrie. Appearing in the Under-17 boys’ division, he was second in both the 100 (11.4) and 200 (22.8) to Jamaican Peter Hibbert who did the double in 11.3 and 22.6, respectively.
Barbados’ hurdling tradition was set from way in the past with Mark Stoute winning silver and bronze in the 110 and 400m hurdles, while Dr June Caddle, who now teaches physical education and sports management at the Barbados Community College, also won a bronze medal in the Under-20 girls’ sprint hurdles.
Two years later, Berrie was back in the spotlight in The Bahamas. Now an Under-20 athlete, he clocked a wind-aided 10.96 metres to win the 100 and returned to take the 200 in 21.94 seconds.
And Pamela Alleyne, who had won bronze in the Under-17 girls’ long jump two years earlier, finally captured gold in that division with 5.33 metres.
In 1981, three years before he would run with Barbados’ record-breaking 4×400 metres relay team at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Richard Louis was winning gold at the CARIFTA Games.
Competing in the Under-20 boys’ one-lap  event, Louis clocked 46.62 seconds, a time any locally based quarter-milers would struggle to make this year.
Adrian Jordan, with 7.21m and Ingrid Jordan (5.72m) captured gold in both the Under-20 long jumps and Leslie Patterson, of the Patterson throwing brothers won gold in the Under-17 boys’ javelin with 53.52m.
Angela Hinds, who continues to compete today as a masters athlete, won a silver medal in the Under-17 girls’ javelin with a best of 35.15m and Mary Brewster’s 43.10m gave her the bronze medal in the Under-20 division.
• NATION?senior reporter Sherrylyn A. Toppin will be journeying to Nassau to report on  this year’s CARIFTA?Games from the Thomas Robinson Stadium.