By Edison Jefford
Guyana put in a gutsy performance on the final day of the South American Junior Championships at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora yesterday to finish a historic second overall behind the defending champions and geographic neighbors, Brazil.
Guyana ended the 2017 Championships with 25 medals, which included three gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals. Before this weekend, Guyana had only tallied eight medals total in the 42 years of the competition, owed largely to indifferent participation; those included three gold, one silver, and 4 bronze medals.
Guyana used its advantage as hosts to improve its performance with 50 athletes. The individual gold medals for Guyana came from Compton Caesar (100m) and Chantoba Bright (Long Jump), while the girls 4x400m quartet also secured a gold medal.
Brazil hauled 32 medals to win the Championships with 18 gold, 11 silver and three bronze medals handed to them from top performers Lorraine Martins (100 and 200m gold), Jefferson Al Dos Santos (800m and 1500m gold), Tiffani Marinho (400m gold), Derick De Souza Silva (200m gold, 100m silver), Alencar Perreira (Men’s Hammer Throw gold) and Daniel Nascimento (10k gold).
The Brazilians amassed 287 points with Guyana second with 198 points. Colombia (165), Peru (118), Argentina (104), Ecuador (91), Suriname (47), Chile (42), Uruguay (15), Paraguay (11) and Bolivia (four) completed the points table.
The highlight of yesterday had to be Guyana’s performance in the male and female 4x400m races that brought the crowd to its feet on both occasions. In the female race, Guyana’s Joanna Archer, who is from West Demerara, ignited supporters with a scintillating third leg that set the victory up for Guyana.
Archer collected the baton about 10m behind the Colombians, but eased passed the rivals on the final turn to give Kenisha Phillips, who earlier in the day placed third in the 200m, enough space to bring home the title. Avon Samuels had given the Guyanese a perfect start. Argentina was third in the race.
Guyana’s boys would have also had gold in their race, but a disqualification for a line infringement that suggested the third leg received the baton outside of the takeover zone, denied them that opportunity.
Caesar added his second individual medal of the Championships in the 200m with a silver behind Brazil’s Derick De Souza Silva (20.92 seconds). Caesar ran 21.45 seconds nursing an injury, while Enzo Faulbaum (21.55) was third in the marquee event.
Guyana was second in the Boys 4x100m relay with Caesar anchoring the team. Brazil won the race with Colombia third. The girls won a bronze in their 4x100m race. Ecuador won with Colombia second.
Earlier in the day, Phillips ran 24.26 for bronze in the 200m behind Brazil’s Martins (23.89) and Ecuador’s Romi Cifuentes Ganzalez (24.19) respectively. Archer also continued Guyana’s medal hunt with 800m silver in 2:19.43 seconds. Colombia’s Johana Arrieta Madera (2:10.41) and Suriname’s Davinia Asantiba (2:50.68) placed first and third.
Bright added another medal to her collection with a bronze in the triple jump. Bright leaped 12.19m to finish behind Brazil’s Estaili Mirieli Santos (12.71m) and Suriname’s Monifah Djoe (12.33m) respectively.
Tremaine Beckles with 51.96m and Timothy Sealey (48.93m) ensured Guyana was second and third in the Javelin Throw behind Brazil’s Pedro Henriqu Rodrigues, who tossed the javelin 69.71m.
Kimbily Hilliman was third in the female event with 19.82m behind Ecuador’s Yuleixi Angulo Bonilla (54.00m) and Brazil’s Samir Fabielle Ferreira (51.74m) respectively.
Tortque Boyce and Daniel Williams also added two medals in an event in the High Jump with Boyce second with 1.90m and Williams third with a similar mark. Boyce had the next best mark to outdo Williams. Brazil’s Luan Barbosa De Souza (1.95m) won.
Guyana did not medal in the girls 400m hurdles, girls 3000m steeplechase, hammer throw, boys 10000m, boys triple jump, boys shot put, 10000m race walk, boys 110 hurdles, girls high jump and girls 5000m though the hosts participated in most events.
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