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‘The team performed with courage’ - Head coach lauds Junior Pan Am athletes

Published:Monday | August 3, 2015 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham

The successful Jamaican team to the XV111 Junior Pan Am Athletics Championships returned to the island yesterday afternoon, after making up for the disappointment by their younger counterparts at the World Youth Championships a few weeks earlier.

The country had something to smile about over the past weekend, as after three days of competition at Foote Field, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Jamaica ended the meet with 13 medals - one gold, four silver and eight bronze.

Head coach of the successful team, Michael Carr, who was at the helm when the World Youth team topped the World two years ago on the medal table, was very pleased with the team's overall performance.




"It was a very challenging meet, but I think the team performed with courage, and it was a real team effort by the manager, medical staff and athletes, as everyone had to go beyond the call of duty sometimes," Carr said.

"A lot of these athletes com-peted with injuries, and getting 13 medals at these Championships is very good as there were world-class performances, so to do so well at the back-end of our season, it was indeed a fantastic achievement," added Carr.

Late Sunday night, the country picked up three more medals, as both 4x400 metres relay teams finished second behind the United States for silver, while high jumper Clayton Brown picked up bronze in the boys' high jump final.

The female quartet of Candice McLeod, Ashley Williams, Runeisha McGregor, and Dawnalee Loney ran into a powerful United States team and had to settle for second in 3:38.71. The United States posted a world-leading time of 3:31.49.

Unlike the Girls' 4x400 metres where it was smooth sailing for the winners, it was a different story among the boys as Jamaica's quartet of Ivan Henry, Marvin Williams, Renardo Wilson, and Demar Weller gave their opponents a run for their money.

Jamaica had the lead at several stages in the race, even on anchor, but in the end they had to settle for second in 3:08.23, as the Americans won in 3:07.07.

Brown continued his dominance over Christoffe Bryan in their high jump rivalry. Brown finished third for the bronze with a clearance of 2.13 metres, the same height Bryan cleared for fourth, as the former Wolmer's Boys' jumper failed to replicate the performance of two years ago in Colombia, where he took home silver in the event.

The 13 medals garnered by the team was the fourth-best-ever performance at these Championships by a Jamaican team, as the 21 medals garnered in Tampa, Florida, in 1999 - nine gold, seven silver and five bronze - has been the best so far by a Jamaica team.

With a little luck, there could have been more medals for the team, as five athletes finished fourth in their events.