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Sprint relay sweep at Carifta games 2011

Published:Tuesday | April 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM


Unlike Saturday night when they were tested in the individual sprints by arch-rivals The Bahamas, it was all Jamaica on Sunday night at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, St James, as the local athletes swept the sprint relays to take a stranglehold on the LIME Carifta Games.

"It was exactly what we expected," said Keith Wellington, head of delegation for the 70-strong Jamaica squad. "Our target was to get at least 70 medals, and I believe we are well on our way to doing that."

Heading into the relays after a winning tone was set earlier in the day by the likes of Christopher Brown, who took gold while shattering the boys' Under-17 discus record; and Sashagay Marston, who threw 45.26m to mine gold in the girls' Under-20 discus, the young Jamaica sprinters were awesome.

In the first of the sprint relays, the girls' Under-17 quartet, which featured Yanique Thompson, Shanice Bonner, Shauna Helps and Jonielle Smith, successfully took on the challenge of The Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), speeding to the gold medal in 45.75.

The Bahamas, which also came into the championship with a 70-member contingent and were far from subtle in stating that their mission was to dethrone Jamaica, took one of their many second-place finishes behind the Jamaican girls. The Bahamians ran 46.16 to edge out T&T, 47.37, for the silver medal.

dominant performance

In the boys' Under-17 4x100m, it was more joy for Jamaica as at one point it looked as if the team of Raheem Robinson, Jevaughn Minzie, Tyler Mason and Rohan Walker was on course to smash the 40.76 Carifta record Jamaica established in 2009. While their 40.92 did not give them the record, it gave them the gold medal.

In what was a dominant performance by the Jamaicans, both second-place T&T and third-place The Bahamas, who did 41.13 and 41.75, respectively, were soundly beaten.

With momentum in their favour and the fans in a state of ecstasy, the Jamaican Under-20 4x100 girls, despite a third-leg fumble, joined the gold sweep, clocking 44.08 to T&T's second-place finish of 45.80. The Jamaican quartet consisted of Christina Williams, Deandre Whitehorne, Celia Walters and Shericka Jackson.

Given the task of completing Jamaica's clean sweep, the Under-20 boys' 4x100 team duly obliged, albeit with a little scare as they trailed going into the final leg.

However, like he did in Saturday night's final event when he sped past all and sundry for the 100m gold, Jazeel Murphy powered Jamaica to victory in a time of 45.75.

"Part of our plans coming into the sprint relays was to get a clean sweep of all the gold medals for Jamaica," said an elated Murphy. "Once I got the baton in my hand, it was all about getting to the finish line in front."