National triathletes excited about first youth tournament
The Jamaica Triathlon Association (JTA) is confident that the country will impress at the inaugural CARIFTA Triathlon/Aquathlon and Mixed Relay championships in Barbados from October 7-8.
An 11-member 13-19-year-old age group team will depart the island on Thursday morning for the first staging of the championships.
Head coach Elisabeth Mondon said that the national tri-athletes have been working hard and are excited to go to Barbados and attempt to make Jamaica proud.
"It is a youth game, the first one to be held in the Caribbean, so it is a test to see where our athletes fit in the Caribbean," Mondon told The Gleaner during a training session at the National Aquatic Centre yesterday morning.
"The team has been training since August with different coaches and different programmes, and things have been going well. It is difficult because it is three sports involved, and people have their different programmes," she pointed out.
"The preparation could have been better, but we are trying to get there. It is an improvement. It is a good warm up for next year, and hopefully we can get better organised, We learn, it is about learning.
"The kids are very excited about the championship. They want to compete to see their level, as compared to others. Hopefully, I can help these young kids to develop," Mondon, who is a former French triathlete, said.
Meanwhile, team manager Donna-Kaye Sharpe said that the financing came from parents and other individuals.
"All is well. This is our final group training session. We have all the tickets bought, briefing done. It is self-financed, with parents involved. We have booked accommodation, got all the bikes in, so all is in place for the team to travel to Barbados. We have no wholesale sponsorship, just individuals," Sharpe explained.
"The championship is history-making and it is very important for us to participate in history. I am sure that we are going to get some medals for both the triathlon and aquathlon. We have good swimmers and runners," she pointed out.
The team's captain Lori Sharpe represents Jamaica in the triathlon as an individual, but this will be her first time on a team.
"It is the first time that a team will be representing Jamaica in triathlon, but Lori (Sharpe) has represented Jamaica as an individual in triathlon. Lori has motivated others to participate in triathlon. She is the team leader and they look up to her for guidance. She motivates them as it is difficult," Donna-Kaye Sharpe, who is also Lori's mother, explained.
Members of Jamaica's team to compete in their respective age groups are as follows: Elthan Moore and Israel Allen will compete in the 11-12; Khalil Smith, Nathan Williamson, Kyle Lyew, Kemar Richards, Dimitri Moore in the 13-15; Johnathan Lyn, Zara Harris, Jonah McClure and Lori Sharpe in the 16-19 age group.