A total of 42 Bahamian athletes have met the qualifying standards for the approaching CARIFTA Games, a few in more than one event, setting the stage for what should be a competitive CARIFTA trials at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium next weekend.
According to Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer, with a number of athletes who attend school in the United States coming home for the trials, and with a number of locally-based athletes being close to their respective qualifying marks, he expects the list of qualifiers to increase.
What is of particular concern, though, is the number of qualifiers in the sprints. Just two athletes have qualified in the short sprints in both age groups and in both genders. The short sprints is traditionally a strong area at CARIFTA for The Bahamas, but to date, less than a month before the games, and with just one local qualifying meet remaining, only Anthaya Charlton in the under-17 girls and Jaida Knowles in the under-20 girls, have qualified. They both met the mark in the 100 meters (m).
Archer is optimistic that more sprinters will qualify at the trials. The CARIFTA trials is set for April 5-6 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, and the games itself will be held April 20-22 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
“When you look at our sprinters, particularly in the under-20 boys’ division, we believe that we will be fine. Joel (Johnson) had a slight discomfort, in terms of an injury he sustained, so coaches were extremely careful with him as it relates to him getting on the track this season. He ran in Miami a couple weeks ago and he looked pretty good. We believe that Joel will qualify,” said Archer. “Adrian (Curry) started late in the season because of an injury he sustained. He will get faster. Hopefully, both of them will qualify at the trials. When you look at the under-17 boys, that is probably our weakest area but we’re hoping that we could get some qualifiers at the trials. I believe that is when you will see athletes posting some very fast times,” he added.
Joel Johnson and Adrian Curry won gold and silver at last year’s CARIFTA Games at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium here in The Bahamas. They are arguably the two fastest sprinters in the country, but so far this season, they have struggled to come close to the times they posted a year ago.
In the under-17 and under-20 girls’ divisions, the question remains who will join Charlton and Knowles as qualifiers in the short sprints. No Bahamian athlete has run under 11 seconds for the year in the under-17 boys’ 100m. The qualifying time for CARIFTA is 10.93 seconds.
“It’s a challenge for us, but we have to believe that the trials will produce the desired results,” Archer said. “The trials is a well-timed qualifier, and we believe that the people who are expected to qualify will do so. On the flip side, you would see that we had some outstanding performances outside of the sprints. We have had a number of qualifiers in middle distance and distance events, and in the field events as well, and that is one of the good things that has come out of the meets so far. All in all, it creates for a good competition at the trials, and we should be able to produce a very strong team going into the CARIFTA Games.”
A total of 13 athletes met CARIFTA qualifying standards at the Bahamas National High School Track and Field Championships, which was staged by the BAAA in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture this past weekend — four in field events, three in long distance events, three in middle distance events and three in the hurdles. A record-setting 75 schools took part in the high school nationals.
The most productive events for the The Bahamas thus far, in terms of CARIFTA qualifiers, have been the under-17 girls’ 1500m, the under-17 boys’ 800m, the under-20 girls’ 400m and the under-20 boys’ high jump. Each event has four qualifiers. Archer said it creates for an interesting situation at the trials.
“We’re going to take the best results. We’re going to take an assessment of the athletes on a case-by-case basis and select the best team to represent The Bahamas at the games,” said Archer. “The trials are not mandatory, but if you’re a resident in The Bahamas, you are expected to compete at the trials, particularly if you want to lock down your spot,” said Archer. “If you’re a non-resident, there will be some leniency in that regard, but we will still consider head-to-head competition. That is one of the benchmarks for team selection,” he added.
In the under-17 girls’ division, Charlton has qualified in the 100m (11.78 seconds) and the long jump (5.73m – 18’ 9-3/4”); Collinique Farrington (56.83) and Javonya Valcourt (57.03) have qualified in the 400m; Jasmine Mackey (5:07.29), Devynne Cuffy-Bethel (5:12.79), Akaya Lightbourne (5:15.66) and Jodie Ritchie (5:15.73) have all qualified in the 1500m; Rashae Dean (1:02.44) has qualified in the 400m hurdles; Kenya Forbes (1.63m – 5’ 4”) and Shaunece Miller (1.59m – 5’ 2-1/2”) have qualified in the high jump; and Anne Marie Orakahi has qualified in the shot put (12.72m – 41’ 8-3/4”).
In the under-17 boys’ division, Omar Kelly (2:04.73), Richard Hardy (2:06.33), Tergenus Lovevinski (2:06.60) and Miles Yallop (2:06.76) have all qualified in the 800m; Denzel Sawyer (4:34.21), Mitchell Curtis (4:35) and Paulino Boyer (4:35:51) have qualified in the 1500m; Otto Laing (14.71) has qualified in the 110m hurdles; Wendell Miller (56.19) has qualified in the 400m hurdles; Mateo Smith (6.81m – 22’ 4-1/4”) has qualified in the long jump; Stephan Farquharson (1.91m – 6’ 3-1/4”) has qualified in the high jump; and KeyShawn Strachan has qualified in both the javelin (61.27m – 201’) and the discus (44.20m – 145’).
In the under-20 girls’ division, Knowles has met the mark in the 100m (11.68); Doneisha Anderson (53.84), Megan Moss (53.98), Marissa White (55.64) and Jasmine Knowles (55.89) have all met the mark in the 400m; Vinajah Adderley (12.34m – 40’ 6”) has qualified in the triple jump; and Rhema Otabor (42.28m – 138’ 8”), Latia Saunders (39.67m – 130’ 2”) and Miranda Tucker (38.60m – 126’ 7”) have met the mark in the javelin.
In the under-20 boys’ division, Terrance Jones (47.77) has qualified in the 400m; Gabriel Curtis (15:52.72) has qualified in the 5000m, Denvaughn Whymns (7.20m – 23’ 7-1/2”) has met the mark in the long jump; Shaun Miller Jr. (5818 points) has qualified in the octathlon and the high jump (2.12m – 6’ 11-1/2”); Travis Joseph (2.07m – 6’ 9-1/2”), Tyler Missick (2m – 6’ 6-3/4”) and Benjamin Clarke (1.97m – 6’ 5-1/2”) have also qualified in the high jump; Michaelangelo Bullard (63.64m – 208’ 9”) and Sean Rolle (63.52m – 208’ 5”) have both qualified in the javelin; and Vano Rahming (3.70m – 12’ 1-3/4”) has qualified in the pole vault.
“The BAAA continues to deliver its mandate to provide more direct access to our sport throughout the Family Islands, and we are particularly pleased to witness sensational performances from athletes outside of New Providence,” said Archer. “While praises continue to flow for our Family Island athletes, there has also been huge performances from our resident athletes who led the charge by achieving some amazing performances. The federation beams at the results of the national high school championships. Overall, the meet went remarkably well, and on behalf of the federation, I wish to thank our most gracious minister, Lanisha Rolle; Permanent Secretary Rhoda Jackson and the hard-working staff of the ministry for their unwavering support to the development of one of the country’s greatest pastimes — track and field. We look forward to next year’s high school nationals, an Olympic year where we hope to discover new Olympians and new Bahamian heroes.”
Now that the high school nationals is completed, the CARIFTA trials is the only remaining qualifier for local athletes to achieve the qualifying standards for the 2019 CARIFTA Games.