It was a tough weekend for Team Bahamas at the 2nd CARIFTA Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships as the young athletes came home empty-handed, in terms of medals. The championships wrapped up over the weekend at Turtle Beach Heritage Park in Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago.
Winning the meet overall was Guadeloupe with 100 points. Second went to Bermuda with 53 points. Third place went to the host nation Trinidad & Tobago, finishing with 28 points. The Bahamas ended the meet with zero points. Last year Trinidad & Tobago won the meet. Second place went to Barbados.
Guadeloupe and Bermuda came with intentions of winning this year, and both came away with favorable results.
Dorian Roach, Team Bahamas’ coach, said: “Guadeloupe, Bermuda and Trinidad & Tobago have really strong programs. I spoke to a lot of the guys from the different countries and they have full-time programs, full-time coaches and a national team coach. They are definitely serious about the triathlon. One of the guys from Guadeloupe in the 16-19 boys category, Tao Jouineau, is a French national champion.”
Despite not winning a medal, Roach was proud of his athletes. They trained once per week as a group and the kids trained by themselves during the week since there is not a full-time coach in place. Roach also said the athletes were proud of themselves and he hopes they continue to improve. Moving forward he hopes there is a full-time coach in place for the athletes.
“The key to moving forward now is to find a way to get a full-time coach. Obviously, fundraising and finding the right person to put the program in place that is more than once per week is the plan that we are looking for now,” said Roach.
In the first event on the first day, the 11-12 boys triathlon, The Bahamas was represented by four athletes – Jordan Cheetham, Matthew Reid, Zane Munro and Enea Gervasini. Cheetham finished the race in a time of 21 minutes and 34 seconds and finished 13th overall. Reid was close to him, finishing 15th. He finished in 22:03. Munro was 19th, finishing all three events in 24:01. Finishing 22nd was Gervasini in 26:20. Trinidad & Tobago’s James Castagne-Hay and Guadeloupe’s Mathys Veryn both finished at the top, in an identical time of 18:37.
In the 11-12 girls category, Team Bahamas again failed to make top 10. The four athletes to participate in that category for The Bahamas were Erin Pritchard (11th/22:30), Anjaleah Knowles (13th/22:48), Taliyah Bowe (21st/24:23) and Kami Roach (22nd/25:02). Winning that event was Bermuda’s Jasmin Hasselkuss in a time of 20:09.
Basil McGee and Jason Cates failed to crack the top 20 in the 13-15 boys category. Nicholas Pilgrim from Bermuda won the race in a time of 32:36.
In the 16-19 boys aquathlon, Duran Roberts was able to crack the top 10, finishing in a time of 41:49. It was good enough for ninth place. His teammate Jamin Sawyer finished 15th in 47:40. Guadeloupe’s Tao Jouineau won in 31:45.
At the end of the first day, Guadeloupe led with 47 points, Bermuda was second with 29 points and the host nation had 15 points.
On day two, Roberts was ninth in the 16-19 boys triathlon. He finished the race in 1:14:40. Sawyer finished 11th. Jouineau finished first again, this time in 1:03:11.
In the 11-12 boys 1.25 kilometer (K) run, which equates to 0.78 miles, Cheetham, Munro, Reid and Gervasini had a rough experience as they were unable to finish in the top 10. Jamaica’s Israel Allen won the event.
Knowles was able to place 10th in the 11-12 girls 1.25K run. She finished ahead of Bermuda’s Bella Howes. Knowles ran the course in 5:09 and Howes ran 5:10. Knowles’ teammates Bowe, Pritchard and Roach all finished further back. Again winning that event was Hasselkuss. She finished the race in 4:42.
In the 13-15 boys 3.7K run (2.3 miles), both Cates and McGee failed to finish in the top 20. Niel Skinner of Barbados won the event in a time of 12:11.
The weather was not favorable for the aquathlon on the second day of competition. Roach felt that prohibited them from obtaining some medals. Instead of swimming, the younger ones had to run, and they are regarded as very strong swimmers. Roach said the future is bright for the athletes as they are young and will continue to grow.
“A lot of the kids are at the beginning of their age group. One of the 13-15 boys, Jason Cates, is still only 12-years-old. Our two 16-19 boys are 15 and 16. They do it based on the age that you are at the end of the year. We have a lot of room for growth and improvement. We just need to find some assistance with getting a full-time program up and running,” said Roach.
Roach is contemplating putting together a bid for the hosting of next year’s meet.