Jamaica look set to dominate Carifta Games again
Double World Under-20 sprint champion Briana Williams.
Despite missing several of their high-profile athletes, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is confident the country will once again top the medal standing at the 48th annual Carifta Games, over the Easter weekend, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands.
The three-day meet begins on Saturday with Jamaica looking to win the title for 35 straight years.
The country, which produced the likes of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Yohan Blake and Elaine Thompson, has topped the medal table 41 times and its last defeat was in 1984 when The Bahamas won at home.
Last year, Jamaica won 82 medals (43 gold, 28 silver, 11 bronze) in the Bahamas, four medals shy of the 86 they won in 2017 (39 gold, 28 silver, 19 bronze) in Curacao. Their medal count in 2018 was 47 medals clear of their nearest rival The Bahamas, which had 35 (6 gold, 14 silver, 15 bronze). Trinidad and Tobago placed third with 17 medals (4 gold, 6 silver, 7 bronze).
Garth Gayle, JAAA General Secretary, said based on the performances from the trials, he is confident Jamaica will once again dominate.
“When you look at the Trinidad, Barbados, and Bahamas trials, 98 percent of our athletes are ahead by performances on the track and in the field. Once they are wearing their national colours the Jamaican athletes always outperform and do well for their country, and so we are expecting the same this year,” said Gayle.
Several of the country's top athletes pulled out of the trials due to its closeness to the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
The Carifta Games Trials were held a week after the March 26-30 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
Jamaica currently has four girls on the world 100m list, but they have all decided to skip the event. Ashanti Moore (11.17) of Hydel High and Kevona Davis (11.19) of Edwin Allen HIgh, who are first and second respectively in the Under-20 division and twin sisters Tina Clayton (11.27) and Tia Clayton (11.37) also of Edwin Allen High, who are first and third respectively on the Under-18 world list, will not be making the trip to Cayman.
However, the world’s fastest junior female, double World sprint champion Briana Williams, is expected to lead the way for Jamaica.
Williams easily won the Girls’ Under-20 sprint double at the Carifta Games Trials in Kingston.
Twenty four hours after winning the 100m unchallenged in 11.67 seconds (-2.1m/s) on April 6, the 17-year-old, who is based in Florida, USA, returned on Sunday’s third and final day to win the 200m in 23.26 seconds.
At the 2018 edition of the Carifta Games in the Bahamas, Williams won three gold medals and with it the Austin Sealy Award.
Williams will not chase three gold medals in the Cayman Islands because of scheduling.
She will only compete in one individual event if the schedule remains.
The issue surrounds having the 200m semi-finals and finals on the same day, which goes against the norm of having the semi-finals and finals a day apart. Organizers have scheduled the 200m semis and finals for Sunday, April 22.
By then Williams would have completed her three rounds and finals of the 100m.
“Briana, as the Austin Sealy Trophy winner from 2018, was looking forward to a chance at possibly winning it back to back, but as her coach, I can’t have her running on a schedule that requires her to run all 6 rounds in the space of 24 hours,” Ato Boldon told Sportsmax.TV.
“In all my years in the sport, I’ve never seen that required of a junior sprinter. She’s out of the 200m if that’s the schedule. I informed the Jamaican federation last week so that they can make the necessary arrangements with personnel.”
In the Boys' Under-20 100m, with the world leader Jamaica College's Oblique Seville at 10.13 and second on the world list this year along with Jamaica College's Ryiem Robertson at 10.19, Jamaica should face minimal problems in finishing first and second. Jeremy Farr of Wolmer's Boys' School and Wayne Pinnock of Kingston College are also world leaders in their events. Farr leads the world 400m list but will run the 200m, while Pinnock’s 8.05m personal best in the long jump should set him up for a win.
Calabar High's Kai Chang, a World Under-20 champion in discus, is another athlete expected to do great things in Cayman and Excelsior High's Ackera Nugent, who leads the world in the Girls' Under-20 100m hurdles with 13.26, a personal best done at Jamaica’s trials, will be untouchable.
Team Jamaica is in the Cayman Islands with a full team of 80 athletes and 12 officials.
JAMAICA'S 80-MEMBER SQUAD
J’Voughnn Blake, Jayden Brown, Blaine Byam, Jaheim Cox, Tariq Dacres, Tahj Hamm, Tafar-Hi Hinds, Adrian Kerr, Deshaun Lamb, Kobe Lawrence, Richard Nelson, Adrian Nethersole, Bouwahjgie Nkrumie, Brandon Pottinger, Rajaun Ricketts, Christopher Scott, Sharvis Simmonds, Neil-Matthew Sutherland, Christopher Young
Carleta Bernard, Paula-Ann Chambers, Kay-Lagay Clarke, Malaika Cunningham, Quaycian Davis, Glacian Loutin, Onanda Lowe, Brianna Lyston, Annisha McDonald, Jodiann Mitchell, Dejanea Oakley, Samantha Pryce, Sashell Reid, Kishay Rowe, Rickiann Russell, Chrystal Shaw, Cedricka Williams, Damali Williams
Romaine Beckford, Rasheed Broadbell, Shamar Brown, Fabian Campbell, Kai Chang, Antony Cox, David Edmondson, Apalos Edwards, Kimar Farquharson, Cobe Graham, Horatio Humphrey, Ralford Mullings, Xavier Nairne, Wayne Pinnock, Tyrese Reid, Ryiem Robertson, Oblique Seville, Tyrice Taylor, Jordan Turner, Vashaun Vacianna, Kevroy Venson, Antonio Watson, Evaldo Whitehorne
Annakay Allen, Kelly-Ann Beckford, Lotavia Brown, Janique Burgher, Cherice Cope, Marie Forbes, Joanne Reid, Shaquena Foote, Anneisha Lawrence, Crystal Morrison, Kemba Nelson, Ackera Nugent, Nickisha Pryce, Kimone Reid, Nia Robinson, Abigail Schaafe, Danielle Sloley, Johnelle Thomas, Briana Williams, Thalia Wilson