Carifta Games ready to go
SOME SPECTACULAR performances are expected this weekend at the 42nd CARIFTA Games as the best junior athletes in the Caribbean converge in The Bahamas for the premier meet at this level.
Both Jamaica and hosts The Bahamas will be fielding full 70-member teams. Trinidad and Tobago have 44, Barbados 28 and Grenada 13, among the larger contingents.
Jamaica have dominated the CARIFTA Games, winning 36 of the last 41 editions and are currently on a 27-win streak. Last year, they won 78 medals – 34 gold, 25 silver and 19 bronze medals.
The Bahamas were a distant second with 40 – 14-14-12 – while Trinidad and Tobago were third with 22 medals comprising six gold, nine silver and seven bronze. Barbados won two gold medals, two silver and 13 bronze in their haul of 17.
Jamaica, as usual, have put together a formidable line-up. They would be even more confident coming off their high school championships where 30 records fell.
Omar McLeod, who set two new junior national records of 13.24 seconds and 49.98 in the 110 metre and 400m hurdles, respectively and Michael O’Hara, who had did the treble of 13.45 in the hurdles, 10.56 in the 100 and 20.63 in the 200 metres, will headline the Jamaica team.
Defending 100 metres champion Jazeel Murphy and World Youth 100 metres champion Odail Todd are also in the team, as well as world junior finalists Shericka Jackson, who did an impressive 22.98 at Champs in the women’s 200m.
Fredrick Dacres, the World Youth and World Junior discus champion, won that event at Champs with 62.80 metres and put the shot 19.29 metres.
The Bahamas’ charge will be led by Shaunae Miller. The quarter-miler ran into the University of Georgia record books with 50.88 seconds to win the women’s Division One collegiate indoor championships earlier this month. Last year, she was runner-up in the 200 to Austin Sealy Award winner Anthonique Strachan, who is no longer eligible for the games.
The Bahamians are expected to perform well at home with the junkanoo band and cow bells ringing in the newly-opened Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. The 15 000-seat venue should be full as the morning sessions will be free to encourage as many Bahamians as possible to watch the games, while tickets have virtually been sold out for the evening sessions.
These games also form part of The Bahamas’ 40th anniversary of independence celebrations and the local athletes will be looking to excel at home.
Grenada will be relying on javelin champion Anderson Peters, who threw 64.83m at their National Championships earlier this month.
Meanwhile, in a move away from tradition, The Bahamas have added a few events for Special Olympic athletes to this year’s competition.
According to local Press reports, it is a move which has been lauded by Nello Lambert, chairman of Special Olympics in The Bahamas. The athletes will be competing separately in the girls’ and boys’ 100 metres and 4x100m relays.