Thu | Sep 19, 2019

Jamaicans ready to boss Carifta again

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2019 | 12:32 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican sprint hurdlers Vashaun Vascianna (right) and Neil Sutherland go through their paces during yesterday’s training session ahead of the start of the Carifta Games at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in The Cayman Islands.
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Jamaica’s young athletes look set to continue their Carifta Games dominance when the 48th staging of the regional championships gets underway this morning at 9 a.m. inside the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

The meet will see the Caribbean’s top Under-17 and Under-20 athletes competing over the next three days, with some 28 countries going for glory, and like they have done over the years, it should be another medal feast for Jamaica, the defending champions.

The Jamaicans topped last year’s championships, which was held in The Bahamas, with 72 medals – 36 gold, 22 silver and 14 bronze – and despite the fact that several of the country’s top athletes who did very well at the recent ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships have skipped the games due to fatigue, the country’s youngsters are again expected to easily dominate their neighbours.

According to team manager Andrea Hardware, the athletes have settled really well, and everything is place for the 80-strong team to give their best in the Cayman Islands.

“Since arriving in the country on Thursday night, the athletes have settled in well, and it is all systems go. There are no hitches, they went to the training track yesterday to carry out their final preparations for the meet,” said Hardware in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

Twenty finals – 12 on the track and eight in the field – will be contested on today’s opening day of competition, with Wolmer’s Girls’ athlete Malaika Cunningham and Vere Technical’s Annishka McDonald being the first set of Jamaicans in action. The pair is set to compete in the girls’ Under-17 high jump final at 9 a.m. Minutes later, high jumper Janique Burgher from Edwin Allen will join them as she is down to take part in the Under-20 high jump event.

Other field event finals on today’s schedule are the girls’ Under-17 shot put, girls’ Under-20 discus, boys’ Under-17 shot put, boys’ Under-20 discus and javelin throw for Under-20 boys.

Track action will get under way in the afternoon, when last year’s Austin Sealy winner, Briana Williams, who won the Under-17 sprint double, will step up to the senior event and compete in the 100m.

The 100m metres in both age groups for males and females will close the show, but before this, there will be action in the 15,000m and 400m finals for both age groups.