Coach Edwards pleased with CUT Games victory

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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JAMAICA'S successful track and field team to the 15th Biennial Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) Games returned home with broad smiles, lots of medals and a throng of family members at the Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday.

The 40 athletes ranging from age eight to 15, amassed a combined 587 points, a whopping 133 more than Barbados with 454 points, to regain the title they lost to Barbados in 2012. Host Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) finished third with 426 points.

Jamaica significantly improved on their 42-medal tally, winning an impressive 50 medals, inclusive of 31 gold, 14 silver and five bronze to also top the medals table.

T&T finished second in the medals count with 40, including 11 gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze, ahead of Barbados with 38 medals, consisting of seven gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze.

This is Jamaica's fifth lien on the coveted trophy following triumphs in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and head coach Arthur Edwards was extremely pleased with the team's overall performance.

"We lost in 2012, having won it on four consecutive occasions, but because of that loss everybody put in an extra effort and it manifested in these performances," Edwards pointed out.

Jamaica accounted for 13 of the 27 championship records in two days of competition at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and Under-13 prodigy, Anthony Aslam, won the Most Valuable award.

The New Providence Primary school star, who will be attending Jamaica College this season, won the 100m, 200m, the cricket ball throw (a precursor to the javelin) and was a member of the 4x100m relay.

"Based on my performances I am feeling great because I trained hard and I knew it was going to happen. I am satisfied," he told the
Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica's male team captain and Calabar High Class Three standout, Tyreke Wilson, was weighed down by his four gold medals but was equally happy that he played his part in Jamaica regaining the championship trophy.

Wilson won the Under-15 100m, 200m 4x100m relay and the Sprint Medley relay.

"It was a wonderful feeling. Sweet victory because I was a part of that team that loss to Barbados and it's a wonderful feeling knowing that we went and took back the trophy," said a beaming Wilson.

"I did extremely well even though I went in a little bit off, but the team and I did well. I was satisfied with my time in the 100m, but I had a pain in my hamstring before the 200, so I kind of went easy on it, but I still came out victorious," he added.

However, Wilson, who destroyed opponents in Class Three at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in March, believes the CUT Games is a very good development programme as it gives most of the young athletes very good exposure.

It was first organised in Barbados in 1986 with Anguilla, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines first participating in the inaugural meet for the Jean Perisco Trophy.

Jamaica first entered in 2000 with the likes of Markino Buckley, who went on to represent the island at the Olympics in the 400m hurdles. Fellow Olympian Nickel Ashmeade also got his feet wet at these games, along with the Wolmer's pair of Jonelle Smith and Christoff Bryan in
later years.

The 2016 edition of the CUT Games will be held in the British Virgin Islands.




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