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Their pride and joy


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Their pride and joy

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A sleepless night gave way to a joyous day as Antoinette Belle celebrated the success of her daughter Tia-Adana, who won a silver medal yesterday at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Younger siblings Zidane and Zadana, and uncle Abre Hunte were right there in Ellerton, St George, watching on the laptop as the 17-year-old became Barbados’ first ever female to win a medal at the world championships when she crossed the finish line in second place in the 400-metres hurdles.
“I am so happy,” mum said when she was contacted by SUNSPORT yesterday afternoon moments after the race.
“The Barbados flag is going to rise on the podium. I am sorry it is not the anthem [being played].”
Tia-Adana took the family’s laptop when she left the island nearly two weeks ago, so she was cut off from the close-knit family. Zidane and Zadana have been counting down the days because they have never been apart for so long.
Belle said it was “really depressing” that she wasn’t able to speak to her daughter, but Kathy Harper-Hall and Akela Jones, who has also done big things for Barbados on the athletics stage, lent them a laptop.
Belle was able to speak to Tia-Adana for the first time on Friday, but was unable to sleep that night, worrying about the race.
There was a range of emotions before and during the race.
“Before the race, I said ‘Baby, get up and run. I don’t care what happens, you are still No. 1 in my books’,” Belle recalled.
Tia-Adana took control of the race and was leading for the first 250 metres. Then she started to fade.
“She had a problem and I was a bit scared. She was in fourth place and I said, ‘Tia, run!’ She runs between the hurdles, that is her style,” Belle said.
Jubilation broke out in the Ellerton household after the race.
Neighbours have been calling to congratulate the family.
“We have come so far without any help,” Belle said. “We sacrifice for her. We changed up our diet to suit her, taught her how to speak on television. I have been very supportive.
“I wanted her to concentrate on her running and education. All she is interested in is running.”
Belle thanked Tia’s current coach Michael “Fatman” Linton; Janelle Denny, who coached her when she was a student at Ellerton Primary; Jasper Blades, who gave her the first pair of track shoes; and Leo Garnes who also coached her for a few years.

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