Athletes get final workout at GB Sports Complex

NACAC Championships get underway this morning; will run through Sunday

FREEPORT – The Bahamas Athletes got in their final preparation ahead of the staging of the fourth North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Championships this weekend on Thursday, and many of them are in high spirits, particularly with the meet being held at home.

The three-day event gets underway this morning with the qualifying round of the men’s 100 meters (m) and the semifinals of the men and women’s 400m at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex here in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

After the Oregon World Championships, TyNia Gaither wasn’t even sure if she would compete at NACAC. Be that as it may, she is here and ready to lace up the spikes.

Gaither is the fastest woman to ever come out of Grand Bahama and is set to run the women’s 200m and the women’s 4x100m relay this weekend.

“I’m really excited to get out there and compete in front of the home crowd. It’s going to be a good group of competitors so it should be a good show,” said Gaither. “I feel like I’m in tip top shape, so I wouldn’t say that I’m tired. I’m sharp and ready to go. The goal is just to keep that momentum going. I’ve ran some pretty good races so like where I’m at. I like my chances of winning a medal.”

Gaither is coming off a busy period in which she ran a series of races in Europe and also both the 100 and 200m at the Eugene World Championships. She came up just short of advancing to what would have been a third consecutive finals appearance at the world championships in the 200m. Regardless, she has had a fantastic season, running a personal best time in the 200m and coming up just short of doing the same in the 100m.

“I’m healthy right now and that’s the most important thing,” she said. “I know that I have more in the tank so I’m just going to go out there and try to run another PB [personal best]. You guys [Bahamian people], please come out and support us because we need it and we deserve it. It’s here at home so there is no excuse not to come out. It’s going to be a good show – you will be entertained.”

Bahamian Denisha Cartwright will compete in the women’s 100m hurdles at the 4th NACAC Track and Field Championships, set for this weekend at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama

Also getting in some work on the track at the GB Sports Complex yesterday was Denisha Cartwrignt – one of the country’s more underrated female sprinters and hurdlers. The 22-year-old rising star is preparing to enter her senior year for the Minnesota State University at Mankato Mavericks, and is coming off a run in the double sprints at the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Her experience at the Commonwealth Games was her first on a senior national team for The Bahamas.

“I feel pretty good,” said Cartwright yesterday. “I’m coming back to do the hurdles where I feel more comfortable. I’m just going to go out there and give it a try. I feel like I just have to go out there, trust what my coach told me and just run my race and I will do well.”

Cartwright said she is more in her element when she is running the hurdles as opposed to the sprints. It’s definitely her preferred event. She will be running alongside national record holder and Commonwealth and World Indoor silver medalist Devynne Charlton.

“I look at her as being a role model so it’s great to have her running alongside me,” said Cartwright. “I’m still learning a few things and she is the perfect person to learn from. She is so technical and that could help me a lot.

“It’s hot, but it’s a new scenery and a new experience here in Grand Bahama and I’ll take it. Commonwealth was breathtaking – just being a part of that atmosphere. That made me want to progress and perfect my talent even more.”

The Bahamas’ national record holder in the women’s triple jump Tamara Myers will also be in action. The women’s triple jump final will wrap up the field events at this year’s NACAC Championships on Sunday evening.

“This year was a bit challenging for me in terms of getting to a meets but the ones I got to, I was able to have a few consistent performances,” said Myers. “I feel that to accomplish the goal here of winning, I would have to go 14.20 meters or above. This is the top meet in the region and anything above 14.20 would be a major plus for me.”

Myers currently holds the national record of 14.03m (46’ 0-1/2”), done in 2017. Her season’s best performance is 13.74m (45’ 1”), done early in the season, in March of this year.

“The first goal is to get into the final. Then I want to go out there and have a PB,” said the Andros native. “It’s been a while since I achieved a personal best so that would be ideal. Finally, I want to go out there and have an impact in the final. I feel like I’m capable of all of that. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

“The home crowd should be an advantage for us. We just have to use that and go out there and compete – we shouldn’t be scared of anything. It’s just about putting our best foot forward and competing well at home.”

Up-and-coming male sprinter Wendell Miller has missed the entire year with a severe hamstring injury. He has been named to the team for relay purposes. Miller, just 19, said he’s looking forward to getting back on track.

“This year was kind of tough for me – missing all of the track meets, but I’m glad that I was selected to be a part of this team. I feel ready to go. This will be my first time competing in Grand Bahama and I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready to run … it’s feels like forever since I was on the track in a competitive meet and now I’m ready to test it out and see where I’m at,” he said.

Last year, Miller was able to set personal best times in the 100, 200 and 400m – the latter for a new junior national record at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) National Track and Field Championships at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. He ran 45.81 seconds for that new junior national mark in the 400m, and has personal best times of 10.45 and 20.61 seconds in the 100 and 200m.

On the schedule for this morning are the qualifying round of the men’s 100m, the semifinals of the men and women’s 400m, and the qualifying round of the men’s long jump competition. Following a break in action, the meet will resume with a number of events on the track and in the field this afternoon.

The opening ceremony is set for 6 p.m. this evening.

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Sheldon Longley

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.

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