Thrills provided at BTC/ Scotiabank Olympic Trials
For years, the open men’s 400 meters (m) was billed as the race to watch when the local governing body for track and field in the country held its annual national championships. It was no different this past weekend, as a stacked field of male quarter-milers lined up to chase the Olympic qualifying standards and the national title.
The preliminary rounds of the event, held on the first day of competition at the BTC/Scotiabank Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Olympic Trials, on Friday, gave the large crowd on hand a taste of what was to come in the final, on Saturday. Grand Bahama native Demetrius Pinder didn’t disappoint, posting a blistering time of 44.94 seconds in the preliminary rounds. He was the only 400m runner, in that round, to dip under 45 seconds. Ramon Miller and Chris Brown turned in the second and third fastest times, 45.31 seconds and 45.90 seconds respectively. Other runners advancing to the final were Andrae Williams, Wesley Neymour, Dredame Carter, Jeffery Gibson and Jamal Moss.
The qualifying times set for the London Olympic Games, in the event, are 45.30 seconds and 45.90 seconds, for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ standards respectively. Pinder, who has already qualified for the Olympics which will be held July 27-August 12, in London, England, crossed the finish line in a new personal best time of 44.77 seconds in the final. Miller finished second and Brown came in third.
All three ran under the ‘A’ qualifying time of 45.30 seconds. Miller’s time was 44.87 seconds and Brown followed in 45.19 seconds. The 400m consolation crown was captured by Pascal Orelus, of Haiti, and Bahamians Alonzo Russell, Danzell Forston and Andretti Bain followed.
Three Bahamians competed in the men’s high jump, two having already qualified at the ‘A’ standard for the Olympic Games and the other at the ‘B’ standard. Former World Champion Donald Thomas cleared 2.10m on his first attempt and Trevor Barry and Ryan Ingraham opened up at the 2.15m height. Both Barry and Thomas, the two ‘A’ standard qualifiers, cleared 2.15m on their first attempt. Ingraham needed a second attempt before clearing the height.
The trio opted out of the next two heights, moving up to 2.21m. Thomas failed to get over on all three attempts and bowed out of the competition, leaving Ingraham and Barry to battle for the national title.
It took Barry two shots and Ingraham got over on his third and final attempt. The bar was then raised to 2.25m, after Barry and Ingraham both passed at 2.23m. Young Ingraham failed to clear that height, and Barry took the national title. Barry went on to clear 2.29m. Ingraham exited the competition at 2.21m and Thomas bowed out at 2.25m.
The battle for the national crown in the women’s 100m occurred without youngsters Sheniqua Ferguson and Anthonique Strachan. It was all up to veteran sprinter Chandra Sturrup, who took on a young field of athletes inclusive of Carmiesha Cox, V’Alonee Robinson and Devynne Charlton.
Sturrup, the national record holder in the event, clocked 11.53 seconds for the win and yet another national title. Ferguson, Strachan and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie are the three Bahamians who have qualified for the Olympic Games in the event, but none of them ran on Saturday. All three have ran under the ‘A’ qualifying time for the London Games. Trailing Sturrup was Cox in 11.71 seconds and Robinson followed in 11.73 seconds. Former Olympic athlete Timicka Clarke was fourth in 11.74 seconds.
In just his fourth open 100m of the season, national record holder Derrick Atkins cruised to a 10.38 second win over Trevorvano Mackey and Warren Fraser. Both Atkins and Fraser already ran the ‘A’ standard set for the games. However, Mackey surprised Fraser when he blew past him for second. Mackey’s time was 10.55 seconds and Fraser ran a time of 10.61 seconds. Rodney Green was fourth in 10.70 seconds and Ryan Penn finished fifth in 10.78 seconds.
In the junior boys 100m, Teray Smith crossed the finish line in 10.54 seconds. He was the sole competitor in this race to run under the standard set for the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Junior Championships, which is 10.64 seconds. Finishing second was Anthony Farrington in 10.68 seconds and Shane Jones finished third in 10.74 seconds.
Triple jumper Leevan Sands soared 17.04m to win the national title over young Latario Collie-Minns, who erased Allen Mortimer’s 16-year-old junior national record of 16.58m. Collie-Minns’ best on the day was a jump of 16.64m, a mark achieved on his first trip down the runway. Mortimer’s old junior national record was set on May 17, 1996. The distance was enough for Collie-Minns to secure a spot on the IAAF World Junior Championships team that will compete in Barcelona, Spain, from July 10-15.
The Olympic team is expected to be ratified by the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) in a special ceremony, coinciding with the BOC’s 60th anniversary celebrations, this evening at Government House.