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US sprinter set to defend double
American sprinter Shayala Mahan will head a list of foreign competitors set to compete in the track and field programme at the Southern Games at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, from 2 pm today. Mahan was one of the highlights at last year’s edition after she captured the women’s 100m and 200m sprints. In the shorter dash, she crossed the line in 11.54 ahead of the Simplex duo of Kamaria Durant and Chelsea Charles.
In today’s finals, the 2008 World Junior finalist is expected to face T&T’s Olympic and World Championships semi-finalist Michelle Lee Ahye, Canadian Shai-Ann Davis and Cassandra Blake of Jamaica. Carifta selectee Lisa Wickham is also among the starters. In the 200m dash scheduled for tomorrow, Mahan will face Ahye, Jamaican Patricia Hall, Canada’s Dominique Williams, Durant and another American Michaylin Golladay. In last year’s event, Mahan won (23.89) from Durant and Ayana Hutchinson (Concorde).
Defending men’s 100m winner Sheldon Mitchell (Jamaica) is expected to seek another title. Mitchell won in 2012 in 10.49 and competed at the first-ever T&T Relay Carnival at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, last weekend. The 23-year-old is expected to battle American Kayle Stevenson and Jerod Wims, Canada’s Timothy Lawrence, Shakeim Greaves (Barbados) and Antoine Adams of St Kitts/Nevis, as well as last year’s runner-up Moriba Morain (Simplex) and under-20 champion Jonathan Holder (Concorde). Olympic men’s 400m hurdles finalist Jehue Gordon (Memphis) heads the field in the men’s 400m which includes defending champion Oral Thompson (Jamaica) and 2011 winner Jeremy Davis (USA). World Indoor and World Junior 4x400m bronze medallist Jereem Richards (Abilene) will be seeking to upset his senior rivals as he prepares for the Carifta Games in the Bahamas from March 29 to April 1.
In the women’s one-lap event, Hall, Blake, along with Canada Esther Akinsulie, American Samantha Edwards and St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Kinike Alexander will complete the line-up. Distance queen Tonya Nero (Athletic Central) will be the overwhelming favourite in the women’s 1500m, while in the men’s event Kenyans Barnabas Kirui and Silas Kisorio will clash with the 2011 800m/1500m winner Robert Novak (USA), Guyana’s Cleveland Forde and Carifta boys under-20 800m champion Mark London (Zenith).
The majority of T&T’s 44-member Carifta contingent will be in action. Shaquille Waithe (Zenith) will contest the first event of the day, men’s javelin. Keshorn Walcott is the defending champion but the Olympic men’s javelin gold medallist will miss this year’s event as he is in Cuba on a two-month training stint. Olympian Machel Cedenio (Simplex) will be the one to watch in the boys’s U-20 400m along with hurdler Reubin Walters (Memphis).
Former national cyclist and former San Fernando mayor Ian Atherly and Thora Best-Andrew will be honoured at this year’s games, Best-Andrew was the first woman to win an international medal for T&T. She copped a bronze medal in the 1967 Pan American Games 80 metres hurdles.
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