“It was excellent!”
Head coach Kelvin Nancoo’s words, coming out of the 50th Carifta Games, which ended on Monday in Nassau, Bahamas.
Nancoo and members of the national team returned early yesterday with 22 medals: five gold, eight silver and nine bronze.
“I thought that we did very well, especially with our relay teams, our field events and multi-events athletes. I thought that they did very, very well.”
T&T reached the top of the podium five times, an increase to last year’s two which also included 11 silver and ten bronze for a medal haul of 23.
This year’s gold medallists are Immani Matthew in the boys’ Under-17 long jump, Nathan Cumberbatch in the boys’ U-20 800 metres, Sanaa Frederick in the girls’ U-20 200m, Tafari Waldron in the boys’ U-20 5,000m and the girls’ U-17 4x100m relay team of Symphony Patrick, Kaori Robley, Kaziah Peters and Alexxe Henry.
Frederick and Cumberbatch’s victories came on the final day of action but both wanted more. Less than two hours after those successes, they were rewarded with silver in their respective 4x400m relay finals.
“Well basically it happened with her (Frederick) in the 200m and it happened for our champion boy, our gold medallist in the 800m, who came back to run in the 4x400m,” said Nancoo, when questioned on the make-up of the senior girls’ and boys’ 4x400m teams.
“They wanted to run. If they wanted to run and the momentum is up, I’m going with it!”
Frederick picked up four medals overall, also bagging bronze in the girls’ U-20 100m and the 4x100m relay along with Reneisha Andrews, Janae De Gannes and twin sister Sole Frederick.
Nancoo recognised the amazing effort of the 17-year-old sprinter, saying: “I think Sanaa is a very good athlete. She has the potential to go on to great things and her training regiment is a good regiment. She is going to improve, tremendously.
“We have her for the next two years so I think we have someone we could work with.
“Her sister, she is basically a 400m-person. She ran the relay because of her 100-split, which was 12.00. I saw that she could do well and she did!”
Nancoo went on to gush over the athletes while looking tot the near future, specifically the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) which will be hosted by T&T in August.
“This is a good team. I think that we can add and subtract. I look at this team and see we will have additions to the CYG team. The CYG is Under-18 and we will have a very good team for CYG but you know in T&T, we are a little relaxed. We have got to keep our feet on the accelerator. We’re now in April so it’s May, June, July so we have to keep going, we have to keep training, we got to keep these kids together.
“We had a young bunch of children and I’m telling you, we have a lot of good athletes who can carry this country forward. I don’t want to call names but that’s where we stand.
“We got to keep it together we have to be very tight. We got to work hard.”
Nancoo was also in high praise for his management staff and also appreciated the assistance of the National Association of Athletics Administrations of T&T (NAATT) and the government.
“What I would like to say at this point in time, I was very, very happy to be with this group of people. I have to thank the NAAATTs for their support. I have to thank the government for supporting us. I must say thank you to our medical staff Dr Anyl Gopiesingh and all the others. They were wonderful. They did the job behind that nobody sees.
“I want to thank the management. I want to say thank you to Jehue Gordon, the manager, and Miss (Michelle) Stoute (assistant manager) did a fantastic job. The coaches were wonderful. I am very happy to have been with them, work with them so I know now what it takes.
“We have come together, we brought the medals and I think it will be only success, going forward.”
The final medal count is still unofficial but Jamaica was undeniably the top team at Carifta50.