'Victory is really sweet'
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
Eighteen-year-old Samantha Elliott has been steadily improving in her pet event, the 100m hurdles, and she produced her best performance to date at the recently concluded Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands.
She ran a personal best time of 13.42 seconds to land gold in a new championship record, in the under-20 girls final on Monday. This eclipsed the previous record of 13.43 seconds, which was set by Kierre Beckles of Barbados, back in 2008.
Elliott's teammate Tonigue Sobah finished second in a time of 13.55 seconds.
Elliott was just as surprised as everybody else when she broke the record, as her previous personal best was 13.96 seconds - the time she clocked to win the event at this year's staging of the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls' Championships.
"I am really happy and I am excited to have broken the record because I never expected to break a record. I just wanted to go out and do a PR (personal record). But I like surprises and I was certainly surprised," said Elliott.
"It is the first I have ever broken a record so it was really a surprising feeling and I am really excited," she added.
First carifta gold
This was Elliott's first Carifta gold medal, having competed on two previous occasions. Last year she came fourth in a personal best time of 14.04 seconds, while in 2008, she placed second in the sprint hurdles and failed to finish in the 300m hurdles.
"It is my first gold at Carifta and I am really happy for it. Victory is really sweet. It means a lot and I just want to use this as a stepping stone towards preparing for World Juniors and maybe (Central American and Caribbean) CAC (Junior)."
The Immaculate Conception High student attributes the significant improvement in her time to the 'bouncy' track.
"The track felt really bouncy and fast so I think that helped, it gave me an extra push."
Despite the Games coming a mere week after Champs, Elliott was not bothered by that fact and thought her greatest challenge was her competitors.
"I thought it would have been difficult but it wasn't. I was surprised," said Elliott. "I am really happy that I did that time because it shows that if I had more competition, I would be going really faster.
"There is this Bahamian girl who came second last year when I came fourth. She ran 13.7 (seconds) and I was kind of nervous going into the race and I knew that my teammate, Tonique Sobah, would be going hard as well. So I was just focused and really wanted to execute my race and that was what I did," she added.
Elliott will now turn her attention to the World Juniors, as she hopes to go all the way.
"I hope to go to the World Juniors in Canada and maybe the CAC. I am not sure but I would like to be a part of the national team. I want to go all the way, Olympics and anything beyond that," a beaming Elliott stated.