At the conclusion of the 30th edition of the T-Bird Flyers Track Meet this past Saturday, there were three new CARIFTA qualifiers for The Bahamas, joining Keyshawn Strachan. The two-day meet was held at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium.
The three new qualifiers for The Bahamas were Jaida Knowles in the under-20 girls 100 meters (m), Rhema Otabor in the under-20 girls javelin and Anthaya Charlton in the under-17 girls 100m. Previously, Strachan met the qualifying standard for the under-17 boys javelin.
The meet encompassed kids from the under-7 age group all the way up to the open division. There were over 800 athletes who participated in the two-day meet.
On Friday night, Knowles and Charlton qualified in their respective events.
Both ran in the under-20 girls 100m final, but Charlton is still an under-17 athlete. Knowles won, matching her personal best time of 11.68 seconds. Charlton was second in a personal best time for her, 11.78 seconds. Robynn Rolle-Curry was a distant third in 12.38 seconds.
Knowles met the CARIFTA under-20 qualifying mark of 11.69 seconds.
She said: “I know I was capable of meeting the qualifying time seeing that my personal best last year was 11.68. I have been working to lower my time and come out better this season. Honestly, I didn’t expect for my first meet for me to do so well but it was a plan to get the qualification out of the way early so I don’t have much to worry about in the other meets.”
Knowles said she will be looking to lower her time as the season goes on. The 16-year-old added that she can now focus on her technique and form.
Charlton was significantly under the CARIFTA under-17 qualifying mark of 11.96 seconds. She said she wasn’t surprised at the time that she ran.
“I wasn’t surprised at all. I came into the race hoping that I would qualify. When I found out I qualified I was excited. I am happy to get it out of the way. I am hoping to lower it by much more,” she said.
The 15-year-old sprinting sensation returned to the track in the under-20 girls 200m on Saturday evening but was unable to run under the CARIFTA qualifying time of 24.47 seconds.
She ran the race in a time of 24.81 seconds, leaving the other runners far behind. She was not disappointed that she did not qualify, stating that she is looking to qualify at the next track meet.
Finishing a distant second to Charlton was Caijah Rolle in a time of 28.31 seconds. In third place was Nakeisha Dormeus, finishing in 28.64 seconds.
Otabor was in action early on Saturday. She threw the javelin in the girls under-20 category a distance of 42.28m (138’ 9”). The CARIFTA qualifying mark is 35.70m (117’ 2”).
Finishing second was Davanna Collie with a throw of 28.65m (94’). Angel Skippings was third, finishing with a throw of 26.94m (88’ 5”).
Otabor is the under-17 girls CARIFTA record holder with a throw of 44.21m (145’) at last year’s CARIFTA Games at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in The Bahamas.
Strachan qualified last month at the R.C. Athletics Thrower’s Meet, finishing with a best throw of 54.28m (178’ 1”) in the javelin. The CARIFTA qualifying mark for the under-17 boys javelin throw is 49.09m (161’).
He was in action on Saturday, and had another qualifying throw, 53.30m (174’ 10”). Finishing second to him on Saturday was Laroda Simillion with a throw of 34.68m (113’ 9”).
In the under-20 boys 200m, Terrence Jones, out of Grand Bahama, won in a time of 20.86 seconds. He went under the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 21.08 seconds, but unfortunately the race was wind-aided.
In the men’s open 200m, Stephen “Dirty” Newbold was in action. He finished second in a time of 21.77 seconds. He said it feels good to be back on the track and he wants Bahamians to know that he hasn’t forgotten about them. The University of the Bahamas’ (UB) Anthony Adderley finished first in that event. He finished in a time of 21.28 seconds. His teammate Clyde McKinney was third in a time of 22.13 seconds.
As the season goes on, more junior athletes are looking to achieve the qualifying standards for the 48th CARIFTA Games which is set for April 20-22, 2019, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, the Cayman Islands.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism