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‘Darling of the Games’

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – Jamaican Briana Williams might have carted off the Austin Sealey Award – given to CARIFTA track and field’s best athlete – but there was no doubt that Anthaya Charlton was the darling among Bahamians at the 48th CARIFTA Games which wrapped up on Easter Monday at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, in George Town.

Charlton won three individual medals – two golds and a bronze – and almost anchored The Bahamas’ under-17 girls 4×100 meters (m) relay team to another medal on Monday night. She won more individual medals than any other performer at the CARIFTA Games this year, and helped the sprint relay team get a fourth place finish in 47.56 seconds.

Charlton’s gold in the under-17 girls long jump on Sunday morning brought Team Bahamas as close to Jamaica as it has been in a long time, after three sessions of the games. After Sunday morning’s session, Jamaica had nine gold medals compared to seven for The Bahamas.

Charlton popped a huge leap of 5.81m (19’ 0-3/4”) on her fourth attempt in the long jump. She struck gold in the 100m the night before.

Charlton was in danger of not even advancing to the group of eight for her final three jumps as she sat in ninth place in the competition after her first two jumps. The top eight after the first three jumps get an additional three jumps while the rest are eliminated. Searching down deep, Charlton came up with a jump of 5.44m (17’ 10-1/4”) on her third attempt at the board to move from ninth in the competition to third.

On her fourth attempt, Charlton soared to the front with what turned out to be the winning leap. Anne-Sophie Tassius, of Gadeloupe, finished second with a best jump of 5.74m (18’ 10”), and Paula-Ann Chambers, of Jamaica, settled for the bronze medal, with a leap of 5.62m (18’ 5-1/4”).

“I was a bit nervous, but I didn’t want to pressure myself too much,” said Charlton. “I’m happy with the winning jump, proud of myself. I’m ready for the hurdles. Hopefully, I could win a medal in that and we could get a medal in the relay as well.”

A total of five Bahamians advanced to the 200m finals which closed out day two of competition at the CARIFTA Games.

In the under-20 girls division, both Jaida Knowles and Kayvon Stubbs advanced. Looking to bounce back after finishing fifth in the 100m the night before, Knowles blazed to victory in her semifinal heat of the 200m in 23.44 seconds. She went into the final with the second-fastest time, trailing just World Under-20 Champion Briana Williams’ qualifying time of 23.38 seconds. Stubbs was third in her semifinal heat, and qualified for the final with the eighth-fastest time, 24.07 seconds.

“I wanted to redeem myself from the 100 last night,” said Knowles. Stubbs said: “I think my start was decent, but I wasn’t pleased overall. I think I got tight and my strides were kind of short.”

There were also two Bahamians in the under-20 boys 200m final. Terrance Jones breezed to victory in his semifinal heat in 20.90 seconds, going into the final with the second-fastest time. Rico Moultrie won his semifinal heat and went into the final with the third-fastest time. He ran 20.93 seconds.

“I feel great. I came here mentally prepared to run a fast time and I did that. I wanted to cruise, and then go all out in the final,” said Jones.

Collinique Farrington advanced to the final of the under-17 girls 200m. She was fourth in her semifinal heat and qualified for the final with the fifth-fastest time. Farrington ran 24.51 seconds. Davon Johnson wasn’t so fortunate in the under-17 boys division. Johnson appeared to suffer an injury, and labored to the finish line in 23.61 seconds. He was fifth in his heat and finished 15th overall.

In the open boys octathlon on Easter Sunday, Patrick Johnson struggled in the 110m hurdles, and lost the lead. He had the eighth-fastest time in the hurdles – 17.09 seconds. He bounced back in the sixth event of the octathlon, the high jump, and had the second-best height – 1.92m (6’3-1/2”). The other Bahamian in that event, Edvaughn Carey, had the second-fastest time in the hurdles on Easter Sunday morning – 15.51 seconds, and finished in a four-way tie for fourth in the high jump with a mark of 1.71m (5’ 7-1/4”).

In the open girls heptathlon, Hiltranique Pinder had a leap of 4.87m (15’ 11-3/4”) in the long jump on Easter Sunday morning, and Kasha Neilly had a best leap of 4.30m (14’ 1-1/4”).

Sheldon Longley

Sports Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting
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