Three of the country’s young track athletes have qualified for the Carifta Games following their outstanding performances in the Coca Cola Inter-Schools Track & Field Athletics Meet held at YASCO Sports Complex over the weekend.
St Joseph’s Academy’s Tahir Walsh, who clocked 10.30 seconds in the 100 metres and 21.25 secs in the 200 metres, tops the list, qualifying for both events at the regional games to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica from April 23 to 25.
Also qualifying after making the “A Standard” list was Jared Jarvis of Princess Margaret Secondary, clocking 10.55 secs in the 100 metres heat on Thursday and then 10.59 secs in the finals on Saturday. Both Jarvis and Walsh hail from the men’s Under-20 division.
Also gaining automatic qualification is Under-17 athlete Cejhae Greene from Princess Margaret Secondary who posted times of 10.83 in the 100m, and 21.80 in the 200m races, respectively.
According to Co-ordinator of Inter-Schools Athletics and former national sprinter, Heather Samuel, a number of other athletes are within the “B Standards” where qualifying for the event is concerned and could also be considered for a spot on the Carifta team.
“I know for a fact that we have a couple of people in the B Standard area. In the Under-20 boys’ high jump, we saw Javvae Hypolite clearing 1.85 metres, (and) I think the A Standard is 1.90 m, so he is within the B Standard,” Samuel said.
“We also saw young Bliss Soleyn, she ran 25 flat in the Under-15 girls 200m and also Viani Joseph in the 400m (who) ran 58, so we have quite a few people coming through this year that are showing promise.”
Princess Margaret Secondary (PMS) retained their title in the men’s division of the Coca Cola sponsored event, but were dethroned by Christ the King High School (CKHS) in the women’s division.
PMS amassed a total of 116 points in the men’s category to capture top honour over rivals St Joseph’s Academy who amassed 104 points.
A much-improved Barbuda team finished third in the men’s division with 53 points
PMS could not hold onto their title in the women’s division, however, and were beaten by some 32 points as CKHS amassed a total of 176 points to take top honours this year.
PMS finished second with 144 points, while Antigua Girls High School (AGHS) recorded their first profitable finish in the event for many years with a 47-point third place spot.
Samuel hailed the event a success based on the times achieved by the athletes and the level of participation achieved.
“We have seen tremendous improvement in the times (and) in the participation. For example, in the 800 yesterday, we had to run two time finals and two heats meaning that we had in excess of 17 athletes in the 800m in almost all the age categories and that is a tremendous improvement,” the former sprint queen said.
There were also outstanding performances in the field events from Keishora Armstrong of CKHS who gold medalled in the long and high jump competitions in the Under-17 girls division, while Maalik Edwards of SJA won gold in the high jump boys’ Under-17 division.
In the Under-20 girls’ division, Alisha Thomas had gold in the 100 and 200m events, while Cassie Vitalis of CKHS put on a show to capture gold in the 1,500, 400, 800 and 3,000m events.
Sapphire Davis of PMS had two golds in the 1,500 and 800m, respectively, while she picked up silver in the 3,000m Under-15 division.
Michia Washington led the charge for Ottos Comprehensive Secondary, taking gold in the 100, 400 and 200m Under-15 boys, respectively, while Jaban Deazle of Barbuda had gold in the javelin and shot put events.
All Saints Secondary’s Deyonte Roberts won two gold medals in the long and triple jumps, while leaping to bronze in the high jump.