Barbados’ isn’t only an ageing population. It’s a pretty fast one too.
They may be this island’s senior citizens, but you would never have known after nine records fell on the opening day of the National Senior Games at the National Stadium yesterday.
The event started with a bit of controversy when there was an apparent mix-up in the number of laps athletes were scheduled to run in the 1 500 metres.
But once that initial confusion was clarified, St Michael East’s Ainsley Lovell had the distinction of setting the meet’s first record. Her time of 6:35.52 among the 60-64 women was more than 13 seconds faster than the previous mark of 6:48.93 set by Veta Batson in 2009.
The moderate crowd, mainly in the VIP and Jim Wedderburn Stands, were then treated to two blistering runs in the 400 metre races for 40-to-44 and 50-to-54 men.
Former Queen’s College and Barbados sprinter Greg Ward, at 40 years old, gave a flashback performance of his younger days, blazing to victory in a sizzling time of 53.65 seconds. His time was well under the old record of 54.93 and over nine seconds faster than that of second-placed Greg Franklin of St Philip North (62.73).
It didn’t take long for the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) competitors – who along with athletes from Utah were taking part in the games for the first time – to make their presence felt.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Lester Herbert (55.42) ran a perfect race among the 50-54 men to not only edge local favourite Patrick Bourne of Christ Church East (55.96), but also set a new record.
One of the most exciting races of the day took place in the 100 metres for women aged 75 to 79, where Barbados’ Kathy Harper-Hall and Trinidad and Tobago’s Monica Tang-Wing were locked in a virtual dead heat.
So fast was the race, that although Harper-Hall crossed the line first in 17.80 seconds, Tang-Wing, who placed second in 17.87, was also under the previous record of 18.07.
However, the most impressive performance of the day was a spectacular run from 80-year-old Brenda Farley.
Representing the Northern zone, Farley chopped almost seven seconds off Doriel Green’s two-year-old record in the 100 metres for 80-84 women, replacing the old mark of 27.27 with a stunning time of 20.71.
The ever popular Victor Young was his usual dominant self, sprinting to victories in both the 100 metres and 400 metres for 75-to-79 men.