Jamaica continued its 40-plus years of dominance Sunday (21 April) while the Cayman Islands produced its first official medal on day two of the 48th CARIFTA Games held at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
The a.m. session saw Rachell Pascal throw a personal best of 35.50-metres to capture bronze in the Girls Under-17 javelin. Pascal joins brother Alex, a 2013 Under-20 CARIFTA gold medalist, as the second member of her family to medal in the event. YaNelli Dawkins placed 6th overall out of six competitors throwing 18.41-metres.
“I feel good, but I knew I could have done better if I was more aggressive,” said Pascal. “I knew I had tried my best.”
After faulting on her first two throws, Pascal harnessed the advice of a trio of supporters to make the final throw count.
“I just wanted to put the javelin out there,” said Pascal. “My brother, Coach Paul Phillip and Coach Kenrick Williams gave me the corrections and I knew I had a chance to get a medal.”
On day one, Cayman’s Aijah Lewis won an unofficial bronze medal in the Girls Under-20 High Jump after the event was deemed an exhibition with both insufficient competitors and country representation.
Sunday morning’s session also saw Cayman’s Jaden Francis advance to the evening finals of Under-17 200-metres. After qualifying eighth with a time of 25.33, Francis dropped time to finish eighth again clocking 25.23 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago’s Shaniqua Bascombe won gold clocking 23.36 seconds, while Jamaica’s Briana Liston won silver with a time of 23.53 seconds.
Cayman’s Errol Smith (11th, 22.76s) and Neil Brown-McLennon (13th, 22.88s) failed to qualify in the Boys Under-20 200-metres, as did Wyatt Bodden in the Boys Under-20 800 metres clocking 2:08.55 for fourteenth overall.
The Boys Under-17 800-metres went to a straight p.m. finals where Juan Pablo Valerio placed 13th overall out of 13 competitors clocking 2:05.14. Bermuda’s Nirobi Smith-Mills won gold (1:57.95s), Barbados Savion Hoyt took silver (1:58.62s), with Jamaican Adrian Nethersole winning bronze (1:58.78).
Also competing in straight finals were Cayman’s Nahomy Bonilla and Tia Bernard who placed fifth and sixth respectively out of six competitors in the Girls Under-17 400-metre hurdles. Jamaica’s Quaycian Davis (1:00.78s) and Sashel Reid (1:01.59s) took gold and silver.
After finishing fifth overall with a time of 1:58.13 in the Men’s Under-20 800-metre semifinals, 18-year Michael Smikle dropped almost two seconds in the finals to finish seventh overall with at time of 1:56.64. Jamaica would finish one-two again with Kimar Farquuharson winning gold with a time of 1:49.64, while teammate Tyrice Taylor took silver clocking 1:49.73 seconds.
“When I started, I felt ok coming out,” said Smikle. “When I hit the first 300-metres, I felt my hamstring get tight. I tried to block it out and run my race. I tried to keep my composure in a very fast race.”
After settling for fourth overall in the Under-20 Boys High Jump, 18-year old Louis Gordon finished 14th overall in the U20 Boys Long Jump soaring 6.50-metres. Cayman’s Lemar Reid finished 13th overall leaping 6.70-metres. Jamaican high school championships double record holder Wayne Pinnock finished first overall with a distance of 7.84-metres, followed by teammate Jordan Turner who jumped 7.33-metres.
Cayman also had competitors in the Under-17 Boys Javelin where Jacob Kelly (42.56-metres) and Jaden Tatum (29.97-metres) placed 7th and 8th respectively. Newcomer Stephen Watson did not record a height in the Under-17 Boys High Jump.
Jamaica also dominated the Under-20 200-metre sprints as reigning Under-20 World champion and defending Austin Sealy award winner Brianna Williams clocked a Jamaican seasons best 22.89 seconds to win her second consecutive CARIFTA sprint-double, while teammate Joanne Reid clocked 23.69s for silver.
“I got out, did what my coach me to do with my form, and brought it home.” said Williams. “I am trying to do what I did last year, but better.”
If selected as the games most outstanding performer for a second consecutive year, Williams would become just the sixth Caribbean athlete to win back-to-back Austin Sealy awards joining the likes of countryman Usain Bolt, Cayman’s Kareem Streete-Thompson and most recently Anthonique Strachan of Bahamas.
“It would mean a lot,” said Williams. “I don’t think too much about it, but I want to do it.”
Jamaica’s Under-20 Boys also won gold and silver in the 200-metres as Xavier Narine topped the field with a time of 20.65 seconds, while teammate Antonio Watson placed second clocking 20.83 seconds.
Jamaica nearly doubled their medal total on day two, winning 10 gold, 11 silver and six bronze. The ‘876’ have now won a total of 19 gold, 25 silver and 13 bronze for a total of 57 medals over two days of competition.