Under-20 World champion Briana Williams and Jamaica further enshrined themselves in Caribbean track and field history Monday (23 April) winning their 35th straight regional championships and their 42nd all-time with the second highest medal count in CARIFTA Games history.
Williams, 17, became just the sixth athlete in the 48-year history of the CARIFTA Games to win back to back Austin Sealy honours as the games Most Outstanding Athlete. Williams is the first back to back winner since Bahamian Anthonique Strachan in 2011 and 2012, and just the second female to win back to back Austin Sealy awards. She is just the second Jamaican to win the honor in back to back years. The other was Usain Bolt in 2003 and 2004.
The 17-year-old took the sprint-double for the second year in a row, this time in the Under-20 age group clocking two seasons best running 11.25 in the 100-metres and 22.89 in the 200-metres along with gold as part of the Under-20 4x100m relay team.
“I feel proud of myself, I’m elated,” said Williams. “I was surprised I was picked because there were so many great athletes that won their events as well. I worked hard for this. The people who have won back-to-back are now the faces of track and field. I love the CARIFTA Games, it’s a great track meet. It just shows how much the Caribbean loves track and I can’t wait to come back and compete next year.”
Jamaica swept all four relays in both 4×100-and 4×400-metres en route to a 28-day medal finale Monday (22 April) giving them 85 medals over three days including 36 gold, 33 silver and 16 bronze. The total is just one shy of the games all-time high of 86 medals set by Jamaica in 2017.
Bahamas placed second with 9 gold, 7 silver, and bronze. Trinidad and Tobago placed third with 4 gold, 8 silver and 12 bronze.
Cayman comes up short
In one of the most highly contested races of the night, 18-year-old Rasheem Brown came up two milliseconds short of medaling in his CARIFTA finale, smashed his personal best of 13.62s clocking 13.41 for fourth overall.
“I came out with the mindset to let them chase me, and that’s what I did,” said Brown. “I held my composure and tried to stay with the guy from Jamaica beside me. I got a major personal best which I am very pleased with.”
Brown’s time qualifies him for the 2019 Pan Am Games after surpassing the standard of 13.51s.
Cayman placed 15th overall alongside St. Kitts and Nevis with just one bronze courtesy of Rachell Pascal in the Under-17 Girls javelin. This was the lowest medal haul for the country since 2013 when Daneliz Thomas took home bronze in javelin.