Junior cyclists bag four medals at Caribbean Champs
Jamaica’s team to the Caribbean Junior Championships closed out the competition on Thursday with four silver medals, after the Russell sisters each added another two silver medals to the ones they won in Wednesday’s time trial.
Chanelle, the elder sister, placed second in the 60Km junior road race, and Malaika emulated her performance by also taking second spot in the pre- junior 60KM event.
Jamaica’s coach Adrian Clarke lamented that the rain severely hampered the youngsters’ efforts, but he was proud they were able to surpass their last year’s performances.
“We had four medals, two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes. The sisters medalled in the time trail and road races.
“It shows that the programme is bearing fruit when we measure it from last year where we only got one medal. This year we got four.
“So we are inching closer to the top and if we continue what we are doing and we increase the training and the whole programme next year we should be on top of the podium,” he said.
Other commendable performances came from Damaine Douglas who was fourth in the junior road race. Daquan Dixon, Bradley McFarlane and Christian McFarlane also had sixth-place finishes, while Khalil Francis had an eighth-place finish.
“It was a much-improved performance from last year. We are at the end of the season, so we restart in January. We will have local races, Central American and Caribbean Games, the Caribbean Junior Championships and the World Championships next year.
“So next year we have about four international events that we are aiming for and the training continues. This crop along with the local guys will be back in training and the development continues,” Clarke added.
Although the weather seriously impacted the performance of Jamaica and other countries, Clarke believes the experience is a part of their development.
“The rain affected us tremendously. It rained heavily, up to eight inches of water was on the road. It is no excuse, but it made things difficult in terms of the handling of the bikes. The road was slippery and there were a few crashes, fortunately for Jamaica we didn’t have any crashes,” he pointed out.
“The majority of teams in the Caribbean do not have the experience of racing in the rain. Nevertheless, our team bonded together and finished their races.
“These guys are young and this is about getting the experience. This is why it is important for us to attend these international meets, so they can garner the necessary experience,” coach Clarke said.