Apr 01, 2016 Sports
By Edison Jefford
It is now reasonable to conclude that Guyana’s CARIFTA Games contingent returned short of an
expected improved medal haul. The best performance came from an improbable participant, who was on international debut, Linden’s Chantoba Bright.
Bright leaped to silver medals in the Girls’ Under-18 Long and Triple Jump events for two of the five medals Guyana won. Andrea Foster added two bronze medals in the 800m and 1500m U-20 middle distance races and Natricia Hooper silver in the U-20 Triple Jump.
Guyana could have had another silver medal from another debutant, Linden’s 16 year old, Daniel Williams, who ran 48.08 in U-18 Boys’ 400m. It was an unfortunate occurrence for an athlete on the biggest regional stage for youth and junior athletes in the Caribbean.
Williams turned in another impressive performance in the 200m, though placing fifth in the Final he ran 21.88 seconds. Tyrell Peters ran 22.18 seconds for sixth as two Guyanese competed in the final of the U-18 Boys 200m race in Grenada last weekend. Jamaica’s Michael Stephens won the race in 21.43 seconds, setting the standard for that age category.
Peters was fourth in his 100m Heat in 10.92 seconds. He did not qualify for the final that Jamaica Jhevaughn Mathenson won in 10.42 seconds.
Except for Foster, who should have done better given her experience and exposure, the Guyanese top performances came from unlikely sources; the result, when carefully analysed, suggested that the proverbial ‘stars’ did not shine as Bright, no pun intended.
Foster first won a bronze medal at the 2012 CARIFTA Games. That was four years ago. She also competed
at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing China last year. Foster should have been one of the certain candidates for gold medal performances at this year’s CARIFTA Games, given that she ought to have developed from her first bronze medal appearance.
Apart from the Triple Jump, Hooper also ran the 400m. Much was also expected from Hooper as one who the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has favoured for international tour. Hooper ran 56.61 seconds to place fifth in the U-20 Girls 400m Heat. She did not reach the finals of the race that Barbados’ Sada Williams won in 52.07 seconds.
Comparatively, Avon Samuels was third in her 400m U-18 Heat in 55.91 seconds. Samuels came back to post 56.47 in the finals for seventh place. Jamaican Stacey-Ann Williams won the race in 54.00 seconds. The winning times are being noted here to establish what the standards within the region are.
The 14 year old sprint phenom from Buxton, Kenisha Phillips, in her first international outing for Guyana did extremely well. Phillips has at least two or three more years in the under-18 category at the CARIFTA Games and made both the 100m and 200m Finals.
Phillips blasted 11.82 seconds to win her Heat, but posted 11.97 seconds for sixth in the finals of the race. Jamaican, Kimone Shaw, won in 11.56 seconds. Phillips ran 24.38 seconds in the 200m final after posting 24.56 in her Heat. Jamaica’s Shaniel English won in 23.65 seconds.
Better performances were also expected from Compton Caesar and Jevina Sampson, who are two seasoned national junior campaigners. Caesar placed fifth in his 100m Heat in a below par 11.83 seconds. Caesar is far better sprinter than that and maybe was not fit for the CARIFTA Games as his time suggests.
Ceasar put up 23.59 seconds to place sixth in his Heat to underscore his struggle. The Jamaican Nigel Ellis won the U-20 Boys 100m in 10.16 seconds as Trinidad and Tobago’s, Akanni Hislop took home gold in the 200m race in 20.86 seconds.
Sampson turned in 2:22.47 for fifth in the U-20 Girls 800m final that Foster won bronze in 2:12. 53. Jamaica’s Junelle Bromfield (2:06.21) won the race.
In the distance events, where Guyana has traditionally done well at the CARIFTA Games, there was mixed fortunes with some improved times, but yet the country went medal-less. Matthew McKenzie finished 10th in the U-20 Boys 1500m in 4:33.35 while placing sixth in the 5000m in 17:53.53.Guyana’s Odwin Tudor (17:19.31) was fourth in the 5000m.
Bahamas’ Benjamin Najman won the 5000m in 15:24.25, while Jamaica’s Shavon Parkes got the 1500m gold in 3:57.73. Jeremy Garret was fifth in the U-18 Boys race in 4:11.05 with Barbados’ Jonathan Jones winning in a 3:57 time.
Garret was disqualified in the 800m U-18 race, while Samuel Lynch turned in 1:53.96 for fourth place. Barbados’ Jones won the double in 1:49.88. In the female race, Claudrice McKoy finished sixth in 5:06.41; Jamaica’s Cemore Donald (4:42.61) won the race.
The Guyanese athletes are now in a position to assess their performances against the best athletes in the region. Any honest assessment will reveal that ascendancy must transcend the unnecessary issues that currently exist within the athletics community.
The 16-member contingent should have returned more medals. The team had support from both Government and corporate community that was a shift from what obtained in the past. There was enough evidence to suggest that an improved performance was forthcoming.
But with just three of the 16 athletes returning with medals, the logic in a larger contingent must come under scrutiny. Guyana sent smaller teams in the past, less than half of the 16, and returned with more medals, especially gold medals. The notable regression must be addressed, and future selections examined to ensure better results.
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