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Debutants ready for CARIFTA

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Debutants ready for CARIFTA

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Six of the eight Carifta Games debutants are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s competition in The Bahamas to showcase they have been working toward all season.
Yesterday during the final training session prior to departure at Combermere School, Timeka Jordan, Ashley Williams, Akeem Marshall, Juwan Augustin-Mayers, Brandon Hope and Joshua Hunte said they were looking forward to finally competing against the region’s best.
Rivaldo Leacock was absent.
But for Hayley Matthews who turned 15 last week Tuesday, it was unexpected.
“I wasn’t training so I wasn’t looking to get on the team. Jerrad [Mason] told me to throw at CARIFTA trials and I just came and it worked out for me,” she said.
“My heart is still in cricket. I don’t think I can go without playing cricket. It depends on how I do. Maybe I will continue n track and field.”
Matthews said she would be going mostly on raw talent as there was not enough time to refine her technique ahead of the games.
However, recognizing that Barbados’ qualifying standards are higher than some of the other islands’, she was confident she would win a medal in the javelin.
Fourteen-year-old Jordan has been working toward qualifying all season. Proud of what she has achieved, she said the hard training, working on her starts and getting accustomed to the blocks all came together as her performance improved.
She did not use the lack of a track as an excuse but pointed out that each time she ran on a synthetic track, her times fell. She will be concentrating on the 100 metres and her goal is to reach the final because “anything can go after that”.
High jumper Hope also didn’t see not having a track as an excuse. He pointed out athletes in other countries trained on grass but always did well when they got on the track.
He wants to jump a personal best 1.95 metres this weekend after changing his run-up.
“It feels great knowing that I set out all season working at this,” hurdler Augustin-Mayers said.
He admitted feeling frustrated at times when there were no races for the hurdlers, but each time he got the chance to perform, he lowered his time.
Having figured out where he has been going wrong, he set a target of 14 seconds in the Under-17 Boys’ 110-metre event.
Although excited to be going to CARIFTA, Marshall will be making the trip without his twin brother Romario who helped pace him all season.
“It feels kind of hard but I am glad that I am going and he is glad for me, so I will try and make the best of it,” Marshall said.
After a personal best performance of one minute 58.26 in the 800 metres at the Falcon Games, Marshall has a greater understanding of how to craft his race after talking with coach Anthony “Palance” Williams recently. Picturing the race in his head for many days before running, the Grantley Adams Memorial student will be going for a gold medal this weekend.
“I am going with the mind to win and I have a plan to win,” he said.
“I will try to lower my time some more in The Bahamas. I am thinking about running 1:55. I am surely getting there, and some hard training will pay off.”
Hunte also logged a personal best 4:03.37 in Trinidad in the 1 500 metres and wants to take off a further three seconds.
“There isn’t really enough competition right now to push me to get to my best. Running against the clock is what I have been doing from the time I have been running, so I was actually starting to enjoy running against the clock, hitting the laps on time.
“I just have to work on the latter end of the speed part and I will be good,” he said.
In the mould of Keisha Walkes who also ran a pretty decent 100 metres, thrower Williams is hoping both the power and the speed will come together for a personal best throw of about 13.5 metres when she makes her debut in the Under-20 girls’ shot put.