No stopping us - Blake hails Carifta team after another dominating performance
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Dr Warren Blake says that despite some of the nation’s top junior athletes pulling out of the recently concluded Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands, the country continues to show its athletics prowess after pulling in its second-best medal haul at the games over the weekend.
Jamaica took home an impressive 85 medals – 36 gold, 33 silver and 16 bronze and Blake said that despite getting fewer gold medals this year, it was a stellar overall performance from the young athletes, especially in the field.
“Every year, we have the withdrawal of our top athletes, either they don’t come to trials, whether it is held before or after Champs. But despite the misgivings of the team, you can see that the performances are even better than last year. We have got more medals, although the quality has been a little different as we have a few less golds. But we did better than the team last year, and they got 85 medals, compared to 83 overall. They have done a wonderful job,” Blake said.
He also highlighted the performances of triple gold-medal winners Briana Williams and Shaquena Foote, as well as record breakers Cedricka Williams and Deshaun Lamb. The JAAA boss also pointed to the fact that the island’s youngsters won all of the relays for the first time in many years.
Williams, the repeat Austin Sealy award winner, won the Under-20 women’s 100m and 200m, along with the 4x100m, while Foote conquered in the 400m, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m. Williams broke the Under-17 girls’ discus record with a mark of 47.94m, and Lamb took the boy’s Under-17 100m hurdles in 13.54 seconds.
“We had two triple gold-medal winners, and we won the Austin Sealy award again, and we had two record breakers. We won all the relays, and that is the first for a long time as every year, either we get beaten properly or we are disqualified. This year, we also took all sprint relays and the 4x400m relays. So the kids did a great job, so overall, we are pleased, and we hope they blossom into good [adult athletes]. Overall, it speaks very well about Jamaica’s athletic future, and it shows we are an all-round nation,” Blake said.
The team also had a number of one-two finishes, including two in the sprint hurdles, where Kay-Lagay Clarke overcame teammate Crystal Shaw to take the girls’ Under-17 100m hurdles in 13.68 seconds, while Lamb took home the boys’ Under-17 100m hurdles in 13.54 ahead of teammate Neil-Matthew Sutherland, removing Jamaica’s Vashaun Vascianna’s record of 13.60 seconds in the process.
Rasheed Broadbell and Vascianna also registered a quinella for Jamaica in the boys’ Under-20 110m hurdles. Jamaica was also excellent in the field, delivering standout performances from Kobe Lawrence and Christopher Young, winning gold in the boys’ Under-17 discus and shot put, respectively, and Cobe Graham, who won the men’s Under-20 shot put event. Rajuan Ricketts also took the boys’ Under-17 triple jump with 14.26m, ahead of Jaheim Cox.