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Show time for medal hopefuls


EZRA STUART in The Bahamas

Show time for medal hopefuls

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Barbados’ main medal prospects, Jonathan Jones, Kyle Gale, Triston Gibbons and Shanice Hutson, will be among the first athletes on the track and on the field today, when the 47th Flow CARIFTA Games start at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau.

The 26-member team, under a new head coach in the experienced Alwyn Babb, will be aiming to at least surpass last year’s unsatisfactory 12-medal tally in Curacao. 

Jones and Gale are almost certain to contest tonight’s Under-20 and Under-17 Boys’ 400 metres finals, respectively, following their morning heats, while strapping southpaw Gibbons hunts gold in the Under-20 Boys’ discus at 5:40 p.m.

Hutson, who has been pushing the iron ball just over the 13-metre mark this year, goes after silverware in the Under-17 Girls’ shot put in one of the day’s first events at 9 a.m.

After winning double gold as an Under-18 competitor in the 800 and 1 500, Jones has added the 400 while dropping the 1 500 at this level. He placed sixth last year, and will want to go out on a blaze of glory in his CARIFTA swansong.

He will be joined by Antoni Hoyte-Small as both seek medals in the last event on a packed opening day’s programme at 8:05 p.m.

Jones and Hoyte-Small have season’s best times of 46.30 and 47.19, respectively, but will have to go even faster to beat Jamaica’s defending champion, Christopher Taylor, whose winning time last year was 45.97 seconds. 

Debutante Rhea Hoyte, with a personal best 56.74 seconds, could also be in the preceding Under-20 Girls’ final once she advances from the heats, which will be contested at 10:50 a.m.

Gale, after getting his feet wet last year when he was part of the gold-medal winning Under-18 4×400-metre relay quartet, should go close to medalling once he can improve on his season’s best 47.92 seconds.

After returning home empty-handed last year, Gibbons has smashed national junior and BSSAC records in the discus and shot put this year.       

While sprinters Matthew Clarke and Kuron Griffith have not dipped under 10.60 seconds this year, they will be hoping to reach the Under-20 Boys’ 100 final by safely navigating their morning heats.

Ashlee Lowe, with a season’s best time of 11.99, may also face the starter in the Under-20 Girls’ 100, ahead of her pet 200 event, which gets going tomorrow with the preliminaries.

With the Games reverting to the Under-17 age group, instead of Under-18, Darian Clarke, despite barely going under 11 seconds in the 100 metres this year as he battled a niggling injury, would be fancying his chances of medalling.

Also competing in the Under-17 Girls’ high jump will be first-timer Tia Hinds, a sister of Kyle Mayers, who plays regional cricket for the Windwards Volcanoes. She has a season’s best clearance of 1.60 metres.

Lion-hearted Roneldo Rock, a bronze medallist in both the 800 and 1 500 in Curacao last year when he was in the Under-18 division, has moved up to the Under-20s.

The former Grantley Adams schoolboy will be joined by exciting Coleridge & Parry middle distance runner Tafari Bishop in the 1 500, which is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Multi-eventer Seth Edwards will also start his bid to emulate last year’s golden boy Aaron Worrell in the gruelling eight-event octathlon. (EZS)

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