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Akela’s golden legacy


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Akela’s golden legacy

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FORT DE FRANCE – Akela Jones went to the podium to collect a medal three times on Monday at the 43rd CARIFTA Games.
All three times she collected gold.
On the fourth occasion, she came out with the presentation party to collect the coveted Austin Sealy Award which is presented for the most outstanding performance at the annual games.
“I feel good. It feels really, really good. I came out here to just represent Barbados and leave a legacy, that is all I tried to do,” Jones told the MIDWEEK NATION
Jones, who turned 19 yesterday, said farewell to the games she first competed at as a tiny 12-year-old with three individual gold medals.
She won the Under-20 Girls’ long jump (6.32 metres), high jump (1.84 metres) and the 100 metres hurdles in 13.55 seconds.
She was only the fifth Barbadian to win the Sealy Award, after Richard Louis (1981), Nicola Springer (1987), Obadele Thompson (1994) and Kierre Beckles (2008).
She returned to Oklahoma Baptist University where she is a sophomore, but said she intends to represent Barbados this year at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships as well as World Juniors.
Jones accepted the Austin Sealy Award from Victor Lopez, president of the North American Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.
She is the latest name on an illustrious list of winners of the award, joining the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica, Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago, and Kirani James of Grenada.
Jones’ eyes are now on bigger fish as she is due to compete at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregen, United States.
According to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) world junior rankings, Jones is now ranked at No. 3 in the long jump for juniors, and No. 7 in the high jump.

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