Smikle gets Jamaica's first gold
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Hosts Jamaica started the 40th edition of the LIME Carifta Games with a bang by garnering one gold and two silver medals by press time on yesterday's first day of the three-day championship, which is being staged at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St James.
Calabar High School's Traves Smikle captured the first gold for the 70-strong Jamaican contingent by taking the boys' Under-20 discus with relative ease. His throw of 62.84 metres was substantially better than that of Trinidad & Tobago's Akeen Stewart, who took the silver with a throw of 51.50 metres.
"I am happy to have won Jamaica's first gold medal although I am disappointed that I did not get the record," said Smikle, who threw 66.88m to win gold at the 2011 Grace/ISSA Boys and Girls' Championship.
"I now have three medals (gold, silver and bronze) from my three appearances at the Carifta Games."
Earlier Killion Knibb missed gold by a centimetre in the girls' Under-20 shot put with her 13.79m silver medal effort putting her behind Guadeloupe's Laurianne Laurendot who threw 13.80 metres for top spot. Edlyn Edgecombe, of Antigua & Barbuda, took third with 12.93m
Jamaica ended the morning session well, thanks to Krista Gay Taylor, who jumped 1.70m to finish second in the girls' Under-17 high jump. Akela Jones of Barbados took the gold with 1.75m.
The afternoon session was delayed by just under an hour by the opening ceremony, during which the founder of the Carifta Games, Barbadian Austin Sealy, declared the 2011 Games open.
"The Carifta Games is ranked among the best junior athletics meets in the world," said Austin, in his address. "We have come a long way since 1972 and all credit should go to the administrators in the various countries."
Interestingly, during the opening ceremony, which featured presentations by Jamaica's sports minister Olivia Grange and main organiser Teddy McCook, Mrs Austin was presented with the key to the city of Montego Bay by Mayor, Councillor Charles Sinclair Jr.
In giving an early assessment of the championship, meet director Ray Harvey said things were progressing as planned and as a consequence, he was "pretty pleased".
In semi-final action in the 100m, Jamaica looked quite solid in the girls Under-17 with Shauna Helps and Shanice Bonner easily qualifying for the finals after clocking 11:84 and 11:86 respectively. Jevaughn Lindsay looked good among the Under-17 boys, winning his semi-finals with a time of 10:88.
Among the events down to be contested last night were the semi-finals and finals of all the 100m as well as the 1500 metres.
Photos by Adrian Frater