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T&T ready to dethrone Jamaica
T&T’s future international track and field athletes will begin their quest for glory today on the first day of the 45th Flow Carifta Games which begins at the National Athletic Stadium in St George’s, Grenada.
The final batch of local athletes arrived yesterday along with some of their tough competitors from Jamaica, Barbados and Bahamas. The Jamaicans, who have dominated the premier track and field meet in the Caribbean, arrived with a contingent of 78 athletes. Bahamas, which has been the Jamaicans biggest rival over recent years, has 56 in its camp, while Barbados touched down with 30 athletes.
T&T has 42 youngsters competing but what the red, white and black lack in quantity, it certainly makes up for in quality.
Leading T&T’s contingent of 42 athletes is sprinter Khalifa St Fort who is making her maiden trip to the Carifta Games. St Fort, the Pan Am Junior 100m winner and World Youth 100m silver and World 4x100m bronze medalist, leads a fantastic cast that includes several former champions, in the hope of surpassing last year’s 23 medal count of six gold medals, eight silver and nine bronze.
This will be the first time that a major track and field competition will be held in the stadium that was reconstructed by the People's Republic of China through the China State Construction Engineering Corporation in 2006 after it was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The stadium is adjacent to the cricket stadium in Queen's Park on the outskirts of the city, overlooking the ocean and the surrounding mountains. The cricket stadium was also destroyed by Hurricane Ivan, but was rebuilt in time for the hosting of the World Cup Cricket in 2007.
The meet will have six sessions, starting today at 9 am. The official opening ceremony will take place today at 3 pm and one major difference this year is that, once the athletes have completed a final, the top three finishers will remain in a holding block and will be presented with their medals shortly after.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe is expected to lead the list of dignitaries, who will be on hand to view the Games. At a press conference, it was announced that Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, holder of the two sprint world records and a member of the 4x100m relay team, is in Grenada.
T&T’s Ato Boldon, a multiple Olympic and World Championship medalist, is also on the island coaching St Fort and another sprinter Sarah Wollaston. Both will compete in the preliminary rounds of the Girls 100m dash this morning at 9.50 am, hoping to advance to the final which closes out action on the first day.
However, it will be reigning Carifta champion and record holder in javelin, thrower Tyriq Horsford, Safiya John and Ianna Roach getting the chance to win T&T’s first medal in the first session today from 9 am. Horsford, will look to defend his boys U-18 javelin title, John will contest the girls U-18 high jump; and Roach will be in the girls U-18 shot put.
Some 650 athletes and officials will be part of the Games from countries including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarteen, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, T&T, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Girls High Jump U-18: Safiya John
Boys Javelin Throw U-18: Tyriq Horsford
Girls Shot Put U-18: Ianna Roach
Heptathlon—Girls 100m Hurdles: Anya Akili, Antonia Sealey
Octathlon—Boys 100m Dash: Ian West, Kerlon Ashby
Girls 100m Dash U-18 Prelims: Janea Spinks, Akila Lewis
Boys 100m Dash U-18 Prelims: Adell Coltrust, Tyrell Edwards
Girls 100m Dash U-20 Prelims: Khalifa St Fort, Sarah Wollaston
Heptathlon—Girls High Jump: Akili, Sealey
Octathlon: Boys Long Jump: West, Ashby
Boys 400m Dash U-18:
Onal Mitchell, Che Lara
Girls 400m Dash U-20:
Octathlon: Boys Shot Put:
Boys Triple Jump U-18: Omari Benoit
Girls 1,500m U-18: Kershel McIntyre
Girls Shot Put U-20: Chelsea James
Octathlon—Boys 400m: West, Ashby
Heptathlon—Girls 200m: Akili, Sealey