The Cayman Islands scored an unofficial bronze medal, while Caribbean track and field heavyweights Jamaica and Bahamas brought the Truman Bodden Sports Complex to its feet Saturday (20 April) on day one of the 48th CARIFTA Games.
In her fifth and final CARIFTA, 18-year old Aijah Lewis leaped 1.60-metres in the Women’s Under-20 High Jump to win her first ever medal*. Jamaica’s Janique Burgher and Daniela Anglin won gold and silver.
“I’m really proud of myself for finally getting a medal on my home stage,” said Lewis. “It wasn’t the performance that I wanted but I am proud to get a medal for Cayman.”
In the Boys Under-20 High Jump, 18-year old Louis Gordon managed fourth overall clearing 2.11-metres. Bahamian Shaun Miller soared to 2.16-metres for gold, while Jamaica’s Horatio Humphrey and Romaine Beckford jumped 2.14-metres for silver and bronze. Gordon was competing in his last CARIFTA Games searching for the first medal. With a personal best of 2.13-metres, the Bodden Town native ran out of energy.
“My first attempt at 2.14-metres was my best attempt,” said Gordon. “The last two attempts I was a bit tired. I knew they were coming to beat me, and I should have brought my A-Game in front of my home crowd.”
The Boys Under-17 1500-metre finals saw Levi Superville (4:13.03) and Juan Pablo Valerio (4:17.09) finish sixth and eighth respectively. Superville climbed to third overall in the pack on the final lap, but Bahamas Mitchell Curtis (4:09.34), Jamaican J’Voughn Blake (4:10.52), and Bermuda’s Nathan Armstrong (4:11.47) all powered past the 15-year old to knock him out of medal contention.
“I was going pretty good for the first three laps,” said Superville. “I ran out of gas in the last 100-metres. I wanted to run my own race, so I lingered back and played my own game. I have the 3000-metres left, and I am definitely looking to medal.”
After successfully qualifying in the a.m session, Falcon Athletics Jaden Francis finished sixth overall in the Girls Under-17 400-metres finals clocking 56.86 seconds. Gold would go to Bermuda’s Caitlyn Bobb (53.69).
“Going into this race I had the slowest time, but I wanted a personal best or a medal,” said Francis. “I was disappointed with my heat, so I wasn’t that confident going into finals, but I wanted to give it my all. I should have given extra in the last 100-metres.”
Cayman’s second finalist from the a.m. session Joshua Cox did not compete in the Boys Under-17 400-metre.
In the Girls Under-20 1500-metre finals, 345 Athletics Club Ava Hider placed seventh overall with a time of 4:58.83. Guyana’s Claudrice McCoy won gold (4:39.46), while Jamaica’s Kellyann Beckford (4:40.49) and Aneisha Lawrence (4:41.19) would take silver and bronze.
“I knew they would be fast in the first 300-metres, so I stuck to my pace at the back and worked quicker and quicker as people dropped off,” said Hider. “I feel I could have stuck with them more seeing is I had energy at the end. I am feeling good for the 3000-metres, and take this race into consideration.”
Another 1500-metre final saw Under-20 Boys runners Victor Magalhaes (4:12.29) and Wyatt Bodden (4:19.50) finish sixth and eighth overall. Gold and silver would go to Jamaica’s Tyrese Reid (3:55.38) and Fabian Campbell (3:56.23), while Gabriel Curtis of the Bahamas took bronze (3:58.11).
A surprise semifinal result saw 18-year old Caymanian Rasheem Brown failing to qualify after finishing 17th overall with a time of 11.11 seconds.
Jamaica dominated the Under-20 100-metre finals as World U20 sprint-double champion and reigning Austin Sealy winner Briana Williams cruised to gold with a time of 11.25 seconds, while Oblique Seville took the Boys Under-20 100-metres clocking 10.24 seconds.
“I am very proud of what I did today,” said Williams. “I need to fix my start today, but I will do that in the 200. I remember my first CARIFTA Games. I was a nobody, and now I love coming back.”
Trinidad & Tobago’s Devine Augustine won the Boys Under-17 100-metres (10.62s), while the Bahamian Anthanya Charlton won gold in the Girls U17 100-metres clocking 11.51 seconds.
Overall, Jamaica lead the medal table with 9 gold, 14 silver and 7 bronze,while Bahamas have 6 gold and 3 bronze*.
*The official medal count does not include Under-20 Girls High Jump as there was only three competitors from two countries in the event. IAAF rules state there must be five or more competitors from 3 countries minimum, otherwise the event is an exhibition.