We were prepared - Riley
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
BEING hosts of this year's Carifta Games, there was big hype in The Bahamas leading up to the championships as there was talk among senior track and field officials and fans that they were going to put a halt to the Jamaican dominance.
The level of anticipation was supported with full stadiums every day, and drum-beating and flag-waving fans, who came out in large numbers.
There was also a large turnout of Jamaicans living in The Bahamas who say there is nothing more important to them than beating The Bahamas on their own turf.
In the end, however, the athletes had the bigger say. It was not close as, despite going for their top overseas stars, including Austin Sealy winner, Shaunae Miller, the Bahamians were a distant second to Jamaica once again.
Jamaica topped the medals chart with 69 - 29 gold, 25 silver and 15 bronze - while the host had 31, which included eight gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze.
Head coach of the Jamaica team, David Riley, was a very pleased man after seeing the Jamaicans dominate yet again.
"Based on the preparations we heard The Bahamas were making for us we knew it was going to be very difficult as we knew being hosts they were more prepared and we expected some hostility. But our kids were very committed and they were well prepared and I would like to thank the coaches who came with the team and those back at home for a job well done," said Riley.
Riley was pleased with the overall performances from the athletes, but there were a few who he singled out for their achievements.
TEAM STEPPED UP
"I think Grange (Gleneive) did extremely well. Doing the pentathlon and moving from the discus circle into other individual events was really tough for her and she is really a tough campaigner and that was the kind of spirit the team needed. I think her and Jevaughn Minzie - a late addition to the team - stepping up, did very well," he said. "The hurdlers did very well and the hurdling programme in Jamaica is in very good hands; all-round great performances and, yes, there were some disappointments, but this is the nature of the sport."
Given their success at Carifta, Riley is looking forward to improvements at the World Youth and Junior Pan Am Championships, which are due in the summer.
"I expect great things and we look like one of the teams to beat at World Youths, but there will have to be great planning and we need to shortlist some of these athletes and support them and the schools and see how we can get the best out of them as right now we are in great shape," said Riley.
He also singled out some of the World Youth athletes.
"Tamara Moncreiffe had a 12.97 mark in the triple jump and this is good, Martin Manley in the sprints, along with high jumper Christoffe Bryan, are some of these athletes and we need to invest in them", Riley stated.