The future of Caribbean sports is in good hands

Winners in the 1500m race

The CARIFTA Games wrapped up here today on another picture perfect day in Jamaica for track and field events at the National Stadium. It’s a fine facility featuring a Usain Bolt track design based on the one on which he won his first world championships in Germany.  

On arrival at the stadium grounds, you come up against eight foot sculptures of Bolt, and a host of past Jamaican superstars like Donald Quarrie, Alvin Marriott, Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell. Walking through this gallery of outstanding Jamaican athletes gives one the urge to follow in their footsteps.

This is one of the many tools to inspire young Jamaicans athletes to step on the track and dream to be the next superstar. 

The day started with the Girls Under-17 100 meter hurdles and as expected, Bryana Davidson of Jamaica took gold with Michelle Smith of the US Virgin Islands and Jody-Ann Daley of Jamaica taking silver and bronze. In the Boys Under-17 110 meter hurdles, Shaquane Gordon took top prize followed by another Jamaican Jadan Campbell, while Jermahd Huggins took bronze for St. Kitts & Nevis.

World record holders

Jaydon Hibbert of Jamaica set a new CARIFTA record in the Boys 17-19 triple jump with a jump of 17.05m.  Aren Spencer of Barbados and Royan Walters of Jamaica took silver and bronze. In the Girls Under-17 200 meter dash, Adaejah Hodge of the British Virgin Islands won gold ahead of two Jamaicans, Sabrina Dockery and  Thaliana Lee Terrelonge.

There was real excitement in the Boys Under-17 4×400 relay with Jamaica 3:17.85 Trinidad and Tobago 3:18.89 and Bahamas in a stride for stride battle down the straightaway before Jamaica pulled out the win.

The final race of the evening saw a battle in the Boys 17-19 4×400 relay, but the Jamaicans met the challenge, beating Trinidad and Tobago’s and Barbados to the tape.                   

The Sir Austin Seeley award for the athlete who delivered the single most outstanding performance is an individual award. And, at these games there were a number of equally deserving winners. There were records broken in the boys under-20 triple jump; records in the girls under-17 discus throw; the boys shut put; javelin records fell almost as often as the missile was thrown.

Bahamas next stop for CARIFTA Games

In the final medal standings Jamaica dominated, winning 97 medals out of a possible 195. The hometown athletes took 47 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze.

Top ten teams by gold medals

Jamaica” – 97 medals (47 – Gold, 32 – Silver, and 18 – Bronze).

The Bahamas – 17 medals (4 – Gold, 6 – Silver, and 7 – Bronze)

British Virgin Islands – 11 medals (4 – Gold, 2 – Silver, and 4 – Bronze)

Trinidad and Tobago – 23 medals (2 – Gold, 10 – Silver, and 11 – Bronze)

Guyana – 7 medals (2 – Gold, 3 – Silver, 2 – Bronze)

US Virgin Islands – 3 medals (2 – Gold, 1 – Silver, 0 – Bronze)

Bahamas next stop for CARIFTA Games

Barbados – 11 medals (1 – Gold, 4 – Silver, 6 – Bronze)

French Guiana – 3 medals (1 – Gold, 2 – Silver, 0 – Bronze)

Cayman Islands with 4 medals (1 – Gold, 1 – Silver, 2 – Bronze)

Dominica with 2 medals (1 – Gold, 1 – Silver, 0 – Bronze)

From here the games move to the Bahamas. The flag was handed over by Garth Gale, president of Jamaica Athletics, to the Bahamian contingent to the sounds of Junkanoo music while costumed celebrants, backed by a full band of musicians, took to the field.

When the games move to the Bahamas you could be sure that the music will be hot, the people accommodating, and the competition stiff. You can bet that I will be there in the Bahamas.