The track and field season is not in full swing as yet, but already there is an athlete who unofficially qualified for CARIFTA. On his final throw of the RC Athletics Throwers Meet on Saturday at the University of The Bahamas’ (UB) Oakes Field campus, Keyshawn Strachan, 15, of the Blue Chip Athletics, surpassed the unratified qualifying mark for the 2019 CARIFTA Games in the under-17 boys javelin.
He tossed the javelin a personal best 54.28 meters (m) – 178’ 1” to surpass the unratified CARIFTA qualifying standard of 53.57m (175’ 9”). Strachan was one of 42 young athletes who participated in the RC Athletics Throwers Meet on Saturday. He is a silver medalist from this year’s CARIFTA Games, throwing 50.14m (164’ 6”) here in The Bahamas. Strachan was one of two competitors participating in the under-17 boys javelin throw on Saturday. The other participant was C.R. Walker’s James Gilbert. Gilbert’s best throw of the day was 20.60m (67’ 7”).
St. John’s College standout Strachan said: “I feel pretty awesome because it was my personal best and I was throwing very hard. In my first four throws, I was very frustrated but on the final throw I relaxed and did well.”
He said he had a rough offseason but fought through it. Strachan is looking to qualify for every national team that he is eligible to compete in next year and to throw at least 65 meters.
Meet organizer and president of RC Athletics Ronald Cartwright said he was happy with the athletes who came out and performed.
“I am happy with the turnout. The attendance was good. There were a lot of parents out this year to help and it went well. The performances were not bad. We had one athlete who unofficially qualified in the javelin.”
He added that there were a lot of younger athletes which is always a good thing and he is happy about that. Cartwright knows that the meet is held very early in the season but said it is a gauge to see where the athletes are at in their training.
“This meet determines where we are at and what we have to do from here on in. It shows us what we have to work on most. It is also an indicator as to how much athletes we have in the throwing department coming into the season,” Cartwright said.
Athletes took advantage of the early meet. CARIFTA gold medalist in the under-17 girls javelin, Blue Chip Athletics’ Rhema Otabor, threw 40.10m (131’ 7”) in the under-20 girls javelin on Saturday. Devanna Collie (29.13m-95’ 7”) and Angel Skippings (26.25m-86’ 1”) were second and third respectively.
In the under-15 girls shot put throw on Saturday, Throwers Inc.’s Ann-Marie Oriakhi threw a personal best 12.27m (40’ 3”). Oriakhi is the younger sister of up-and-coming quarter-miler Raymond Oriakhi. She is coached by one of The Bahamas’ best throwers ever Bradley Cooper, and is considered an athlete who should be watched closely. She was satisfied with her throw. As for her main goal this season, she said: “I want to meet the CARIFTA standard of 13.15m (43’ 12”). I know I can do it. My training has been going good. This was my personal best for me and I feel good about it.”
Calea Jackson finished second in the under-15 girls shot put on Saturday with a throw of 10.66m (34’ 11-3/4”). Jessica Rolle finished third with a throw of 8.29m (27’ 2”).
In the under-20 boys shot put, 2018 CARIFTA bronze medalist in the under-17 boys event, Tarajh Hudson, threw 14.60m (47’ 11”) to pick up a win. Dante Cooper was second, throwing 13.55m (44’ 5”). Finishing third was Peter Brown with a throw of 11.05m (36’ 3”).
“I threw that distance on my first throw of the day. It was a season opener but I feel as the season goes on, my throws will improve. The qualifying mark is around 17.10 meters so hopefully by February or March I will be hitting that mark comfortably. Training has been going good and it will get more intense. This is a good meet as it helps to gauge how much progress you have made from last season,” Hudson said.
Hudson also won the under-20/open discus with a throw of 47.60m (156’ 2”). Bradley Cooper (46.23m-151’ 8”) and Donte Cooper (43.23m-141’ 10”) were second and third respectively.