More athletes qualify for CARIFTA

It was a proud moment for Blue Chip Athletics Coach Corrington Maycock over the weekend, as three of his athletes unofficially qualified for the 2020 CARIFTA Games in Hamilton, Bermuda, taking advantage of an early track and field meet on the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations’ (BAAA) calendar. The trio surpassed the qualifying standards at the T-Bird Flyers Track and Field Classic at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium on Saturday.

Those three athletes were javelin throwers Keyshawn Strachan, Nathaniel Zervos and Rhema Otabor. In addition to those three, Terrence Jones qualified at that meet in the under-20 boys 200 meters (m). Qualifying at another meet in the United States was Megan Moss.

They all join Stephan Farquharson, who qualified for this year’s CARIFTA Games when he cleared 1.92m (6’ 3-1/2”) in the under-17 boys high jump the previous week.

Strachan won gold in the under-17 boys javelin throw at the 2019 CARIFTA Games with a record throw of 64.31m (211’). This year, he is competing in the under-20 boys division. On Saturday, he had a throw of 63.76m (209’ 2-1/4”) to surpass the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 60.94m.

“It feels good,” Strachan said. “I was looking for this from last season after CARIFTA. I knew I had to do something bigger. Coming into under-20 division – first throw. I threw 63 meters and it feels pretty good. Hopefully next meet I throw 65 or 66 meters.”

The 17-year old said he is trying to throw the javelin 70m (229’ 8”) this season.

“Last year, I threw with the 700 grams javelin and I threw 64 meters. Come into under-20 and I throw 63 meters today – that was big,” Strachan said.

Finishing behind him was teammate Michelangelo Bullard with a throw of 59.21m (194’ 3”). Finishing third was Andros’ Paul Hanna with a best throw of 44.72m (146’ 8-3/4”).

Otabor was also a gold medalist at the 2019 CARIFTA Games, throwing the javelin 43.07m (141’ 4”) in the under-20 girls division.

On Saturday, Otabor flexed her muscles again as she threw 47.95m (157’ 3-3/4”) – a huge improvement from her 2019 CARIFTA performance. With that throw she comfortably surpassed the 38.39m (125’ 11-1/2”) qualifying standard.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Otabor said. “I am happy that all the work that I put in during the offseason paid off in this first meet of the year.”

Like Strachan, Otabor has a goal she wants to accomplish this season. That goal is to throw over 50m by the time CARIFTA comes around.

The former Nassau Christian Academy (NCA) student added that she was surprised at her throw on Saturday.

“I was very surprised because last year I ended the season with 43 meters and that was a four meters improvement on my part. I was even more excited because I know that I still have more room for improvement,” Otabor said.

Otabor’s teammate Camitra Mackey was a distant second with a throw of 35.96m (117’ 11-3/4”). T-Bird Flyers’ Lauranique Harriott finished third with a throw of 19.97m (65” 6-1/4”).

Although the 17-year-old is ready to defend her title at CARIFTA, her main focus is qualify for the 2020 World Athletics Under-20 (U20) Track and Field Championships, slated for July 7-12 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Also qualifying for this year’s CARIFTA on Saturday was Zervos. The 16-year-old qualified in the under-17 boys javelin. Competing under Blue Chip Athletics, Zervos threw 53.59m (175’ 9-3/4”), surpassing the qualifying standard of 50.65m (166’ 2”).

T-Bird Flyers’ Fabian Storr was the other competitor in that event. He finished with a throw of 35.03m (114’ 11-1/4”).

Jones, the Grand Bahamian sprinting sensation, tore up the track, meeting the 2020 CARIFTA qualifying standard when he ran 21.03 seconds in the 200m. The CARIFTA standard is 21.15 seconds. He also ran under the qualifying standard for the World U20 Championships. The qualifying standard for that global meet is 21.38 seconds.

The Grand Bahama Heats athlete finished far ahead of second place finisher Lamont Moss who ran 22.24 seconds. Finishing third was Jones’ teammate Montel Colebrooke. He clocked 22.30 seconds.

Jones also ran under 50 seconds in the 400m sprint when he clocked 49.90 seconds, but was unable to meet the 2020 CARIFTA qualifying standard of 47.34 seconds.

Bahamian collegiate athlete Megan Moss clocked 53.67 seconds in the women’s 400m at the Jim Green Invitational in Lexington, Kentucky, qualifying for both the 2020 CARIFTA Games and the World Athletics U20 Championships as well. She went under the 2020 CARIFTA qualifying standard of 54.76 seconds and the World U20 qualifying standard of 54.85 seconds.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats freshman finished third in that event in her collegiate meet over the weekend. Moss’ teammate Alexis Holmes won that event with a meet record time of 52.71 seconds. Finishing second was Maggie Barrie, running unattached, in a time of 52.95 seconds.

Jaida Knowles and Anthaya Charlton, of Star Trackers, made the ‘B’ CARIFTA standard of 11.92 seconds in the under-20 girls 100m. Knowles clocked 11.80 seconds for the win and Charlton finished second in a time of 11.87 seconds. The ‘B’ standard allows for the composition of a relay team should a limited number of athletes qualify via the ‘A’ standard. The ‘A’ standard for CARIFTA is 11.69 seconds. However, Knowles was able to go under the qualifying standard for the world U20s. The qualifying standard for that meet is 11.85 seconds.

On hand to witness the first club meet of the year was BAAA President Drumeco Archer. He said he saw some amazing performances and was happy to see the out-of-town athletes participating well.

“This is really the beginning of the track and field season because you have the conventional races. I believe that this was a huge success. We have had amazing performances. We look at some of our visitors coming from Grand Bahama and Andros and the heat is here. We are pleased with the performances both from the Family Islands and here in New Providence,” Archer said.

Archer added that 2020 is a huge year for the juniors. He is optimistic with the performances he has seen so far.

“This year is definitely a year that we are going to be watching a lot of our junior performers,” Archer said. “This year is world juniors and we’re looking forward to what the athletes do, and some of the marquee athletes performed incredibly well this weekend. They have shown incredible fitness. I have observed their offseason training and I think that we are exactly where we want to be in preparation for 2020 at the junior level.”

Also at the meet were senior athletes such as Jamal Wilson who is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Wilson cleared 2.31m (7’ 6-1/2”) but fell short of the 2.33m (7’ 7”) Olympic qualifying standard.

Up next on the BAAA calendar is the DTSP Wolfpack Invitational set for Saturday, January 25.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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