Falcon ‘perfect’ warm-up
The Barbados CARIFTA team’s participation in last weekend’s Falcon Games in Trinidad and Tobago was the perfect opportunity to assess the athletes in competition conditions as they prepare to take on the best in the region in The Bahamas.
“I think the idea of taking the kids to the meet was a good idea,” head coach Bryan Holder told WEEKENDSPORT in an interview last Tuesday at Combermere School at the final training session.
“If we had operated in the scheme of things that we usually operated within, they would have competed at Inter-School Sports in that timeframe.
“They would have last competed at the CARIFTA trials here at Combermere and I think that the meet gave us an opportunity to see where the children are at and how we can fine-tune them as they go into the CARIFTA Games.”
There was some talk in local athletics circles that it was a waste of scarce financial resources to take the athletes to competition and risk injury at a time when Jamaica, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago were resting their athletes. However, those countries had CARIFTA trials and inter-school championships back-to-back while the Barbadian athletes had been idle for two weeks.
Holder said he was generally pleased with the performances at the Falcon Games and they seemed to indicate the athletes would be ready for the CARIFTA Games. One area of concern, however, was the field events. Apart from Jalisa Burrowes, who had a personal best 5.66 metres in the long jump, most of the others “were a little bit off the boil”.
“The other field eventers are still fine-tuning what they are doing and I am sure that by the CARIFTA Games they will be ready as well,” the head coach added.
Barbados won both the Under-18 Girls’ and Boys’ 4×100 metres relays, but those line-ups have not been set in stone as one of the runners had cramps and an alternative was used in one instance.
“We are assessing the girls to see which four runners will be best suited to compete in The Bahamas. At this stage, we are scheduled to have 4x100m relay teams in the Under-17 Girls’, Under-17 Boys’ and the Under-20 Girls’ [divisions]. I am not so sure that we necessarily have the personnel to compete at the level in the Under-20 Boys’ 4×100,” Holder said.
Barbados will also be fielding teams in the 4x400m relays.
With Easter being at the end of March this year, athletes will experience some cold conditions, although they are not expected to be as harsh as in Bermuda last year when athletes struggled in temperatures in the low 20s and high teens.
Holder said that would not be accepted as an excuse for non-performance.
“What we have told them is the ones who have ‘skins’ – they wore their skins in Bermuda in most cases – they will bring their skins to The Bahamas and we will try to get some for the others.
“What I really want to emphasize, though, as we go into The Bahamas, we are trying to prepare these athletes for any kind of conditions.
“We are asking them to function under whatever conditions they come up against. The fact that we didn’t have a track here in Barbados is not a big part of what we are focusing on,” he said. “We are focusing on performance, giving 110 per cent every time you touch the track in the interest of representing your country well.”
The final batch of athletes will leave this morning. Twenty-eight athletes, including three based in the United States, have been chosen for the CARIFTA Games.