After witnessing the first 20 minutes of the contest against Mexico, it would have been difficult to recognise the difference between the two teams.
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T&T’s James, Cedenio hunt gold on opening day
Defending two girls Under-17 shot put champion and record holder Chelsea James will spearhead T&T’s campaign on the opening day of the 43rd annual Carifta Games at the Pierre Aliker Municipal Stadium in Fort de France, Martinique later today. James will compete in the girls Under-18 shot put finals at 11 am. The Signal Hill Secondary fifth form student warmed up for this year’s Games with a personal best (pb) throw of 15.38 metres at last weekend’s Falcon Games. James will be going for her third straight gold after she took the 2013 girls Under-17 crown with a Games record of 14.48.
Akidah Briggs will also represent T&T in the event and could medal after throwing a personal best of 14.98 to beat James at the Carifta trials. James will have a busy day when she returns to the field at 6.25 pm for the girls Under-18 discus finals and again will be one of the favourites for gold. James established a new personal best of 41.61 at the Falcon Games. Last year’s bronze medallist Shaian Charles will also be contender for gold. James said she hopes to better her personal best throws. “This year I am going there just to do my best. My personal best at the Falcon Games really boosted my confidence because I hope to go out there and throw about 16 metres (in the shot put).”
Boys Under-20 Carifta champion Machel Cedenio will also defend his title later today. Cedenio took the 2012 title in the Bahamas finished strongly to take the gold in pb of 45.93, outdipping Jamaican Jevon Francis and home town favourite Stephen Newbold of the Bahamas. The 18-year-old Simplex sprinter qualified for this year’s Carifta meet with a time of 46.27 at the Carifta trials in March. The lanky Presentation College/San Fernando student has been training in the US since his victory at the trials. The boys Under-20 400m heats are set for 11.05 am with the finals carded for 6.45 pm. Asa Guevera is this country’s other entrant. The 2012 World Junior bronze medallist will be looking to improve on his fifth place in last year’s final. Cedenio said, “I am going out there and do my best. I am going to try to defend my title, give it my all and have fun.”
The World Youth and Junior finalist added that he may be trying a new race strategy. “Last year’s win was exciting but each year everybody gets better so some of the tactics I used last year may not work this year. So I have to change up my game. I will have to run hard the first part of the race and still come home strong.” Jonathan Farinha will bid for gold in the boys Under-20 100m. The Queen’s Royal College student won the event at the Carifta trials in a wind-aided time of 10.18. However, there are reports that he has been recovering a leg injury. The heats of the boys Under-20 100m are set for 10.05 m with the semifinals at 5 pm) and the final at 8 pm. Micah Ballantyne will be vying for gold. The lanky Abilene Wildcats competitor said all is in place for him to excel.
“So far everything has been well. It is just to come out and execute tomorrow (today). I am feeling good. I have not had a chance to run on the track though. I want to go out there with a proper mindset.” The first medal for T&T could come in the first final of the day the boys Under-20 discus where Kenejah Williams will this country’s representative. Williams will be seeking gold to improve on his eighth-place finish in 2013. The Tobago Falcons athlete won the boys Under-17 title in 2011. UK-based distance runner Nicholas Landeau will be seeking to end his Carifta campaign with a gold. The 2011 Boys Under-17 1,500m and 3,000m champion will contest the boys Under-20 1,500m final carded for 6pm. The Bemont Boys Secondary graduate fine tuned his preparation taking the men’s 1,500m crown at the Falcons Games in 3:57.69. Trials winner Ashton Gill will make his Carifta debut. The opening ceremony took place last evening.
9 am: Girls Open Heptathlon (Meriah Freeman/Ayanna Glascow); Boys Under-20 discus finals (Kenejah Williams); Girls Under-18 high Jump final (Khemani Roberts); Boys Under-18 Javelin finals (Tyriq Horsford)
9.10 am: Boys Open Octathlon (Kevin Roberts/Victor Isaac)
9.20 am: Girls Under-18 100m heats (Jenea Spinks/Jael Ferguson)
9.35 am: Boys Under-18 100m heats (Adel Colthrust, Akanni Hislop)
9.50 am: Girls Under-20 100m heats (Aaliyah Telesford/Kayelle Clarke)
10.05 am: Boys Under-20 100m heats (Jonathan Farinha/Micah Ballyntine)
10.20 am: Girls Under-18 400m semis (Renee Stoddard, Thyla-Marie Scott)
10.35 am: Boys Under-18 400m (Kashef King, Jacob St Clair)
10.50 am: Girls Under-20 400m (Ayoka Cummings)
11 am: Girls Under-18 Shot put finals (Chelsea James/Akidah Briggs); Boys Under-20 400m (Machel Cedenio, Asa Guevera)
5.30 pm: B Under-20 1500m finals (Nicholas Landeau/Ashton Gill)