Jamaica garner 88 medals at 43rd Carifta Games
Jamaica unofficially racked up a record haul of 88 medals to top the 43rd staging of the Carifta Games at Stade Municipal Pierre Aliker in Martinique for the 30th consecutive year and their 37th overall since the first staging in 1972.
On Thursday before departing for the French territory, Neil Harrison, the head coach of the 84-member Jamaican team, the largest delegation to ever take part in the games, told the Jamaica Observer that expectations were high for yet another outstanding Carifta Games, and he was right.
The Jamaicans totally dominated the 26 other nations at the Games and garnered 88 medals, comprised of 42 gold, 34 silver and 12 bronze to break their 10-year-old record haul of 84 medals established in Hamilton, Bermuda, in 2004.
Jamaica started the day with 51 medals — of 25 gold, 19 silver and seven bronze — and collected another 37 as they dominated not only in the sprints, but the middle and long distances, hurdles and field events.
Janeek Brown and Sidney Marshall got things going for Jamaica by capturing gold and silver in the Under-18 girls' 100m hurdles in 13.48 and 13.62 seconds, respectively, with Trinidadian Jeminise Parris third in 13.79 seconds.
The outstanding Jaheel Hyde won his second individual gold of the championships, running a personal best 13.10 seconds to destroy the field in the Under-18 boys' 110m hurdles final.
The IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist led from the start and dragged teammate Roje Chin Jackson into second place in 13.46 seconds, with Barbados' Michael Nicholson winning the bronze in 13.79 seconds.
Jamaica's Tyler Mason was second in the Under-20 boys' final in 13.25 seconds, just off Omar McLeod's one-year-old National Junior Record 13.24 seconds, beaten to the tape by Guadeloupe's Wilhelm Belocian, who won the gold in 13.23 seconds, while Reubin Walters of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 13.57 seconds.
There was an upset in the Under-20 girls' race when Jamaica's World Youth Champion Yanique Thompson finished fourth as Barbados' Akela Jones ran 13.55 seconds to win her third gold of the championships with Jamaican Peta-Gay Williams second in 13.57 seconds and Guadeloupe's Chrystie Lange third in 13.59 seconds. Jones completed a remarkable Games having won the long jump earlier and the high jump on Sunday.
Demar Gayle took the gold medal in the Under-20 boys' shot put held in the morning session with a throw of 16.72m, to beat Trinidad's Kenejah Williams with 16.55m, and Barbados' Romario Antoine with 16.42m.
Shanique Wright took the bronze in the Under-18 girls' triple jump in 12.26m, as Guadeloupe's Esmerelda Yannis Davids won her fourth straight gold medal in the event with 13.06m, beating Martinique's Axelle Eugenie with 12 26m.
Olivia Leckford won the Under-20 girls' javelin throw with a best mark of 44.41m in a one-two finish with teammate Isheka Binns (43.32m), and Guadeloupe's Pricillia Fonds taking third in 39.17m.
Jamaica also dominated the 800m, winning three of the four races on track. Ryan Butler and Ryan Dunkley were first and second in the Under-18 boys' 800m. Butler won in 1:55.61 minutes and Dunkley did 1:56.03.
Kevon Robinson and Raja Hamilton also occupied the top two spots in the Under-20 category in 1:51.02 minutes and 1:51.05 minutes, respectively. They outsped Calabar High's Jorel Bellafonte, representing the Cayman Islands, who finished fourth in 1:52.42 minutes.
Monique McPherson (2:09.85) and Sasha-Gay White (2:13.13) copped the top two spots in the girls' Under-20 800m. In the Under-18 girls', Jamaica's Junelle Bromfield (2:10.79) and Britnie Dixon (2:13.33) were second and third, behind winner Faheemah Scrader of Bermuda who won in 2:10.68 minutes.
Jamaica had raced to 70 medals prior to the start of the 200 metres and they picked up a further seven to be on 77 medals entering the relays with a few field events still in progress.
Natalliah Whyte defended her Under-18 crown in 23.36 seconds, with her teammate Shellece Clark third with 23.61. Sada Williams of Barbados was second in 23.43.
Chad Walker, who did not compete at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships after switching from Jamaica College to St Jago High, captured the Under-18 200m in 20.99 seconds. His 15-year-old teammate Jhevaughn Matherson was second in 21.13 seconds. Bahamian Javan Martin was third in 21.15.
Jamaica's Kadisha Dallas picked up the bronze in the girls' Under-20 after her teammate Saqukine Cameron pulled up injured while in third spot, approximately 60m from the line. Kayelle Clarke of Trinidad & Tobago won in 23.10 ahead of Kadecia Baird of Guyana, who clocked 23.13 seconds.
Meanwhile, Calabar High's Michael O'Hara looked to be back to his best as he sped to victory in the boys' Under-20 200m in 20.50 and pulled his Jamaican teammate Jevaughn Minzie into second with 20.56. Levi Cadogan of Barbados was third in 20.64 seconds.
At this point, the focus was really on whether or not Jamaica could break their 2004 record medal haul of 84 medals. Jamaica's medal tally was now 77, 34 gold, 31 silver and 12 bronze.
That was quickly increased to 79, courtesy of a one-two finish by Obrien Frith and Romario Foote in the boys' 5,000m open. Frith won in 15:48.51 minutes with Foote second in 15:51.66. Third went to Brian Ludop of Martinique with 16:04. 56 minutes.
Jamaica dominated the four 4x400m relays winning three and placing second in the other. The Under-18 girls anchored by Tiffany James won in 3:37.65 minutes, ahead of the Bahamas (3:41.90) and Guyana (3: 46.23).
The outstanding Jaheel Hyde captured his third gold medal, anchoring Jamaica's Under-18 boys to victory in the 4x400m relay. He teamed up with lead-off man Nigel Ellis, Nathaniel Bann and Martin Manley and won in 3:12.63 minutes. The Bahamas were second with 3:13.16, with Trinidad and Tobago third in 3:13.77 minutes.
In the girls' Under-20, Jamaica got a scare when Yanique McNeil seemed to have injured herself on the second leg, but was still able to hand over the baton to Andrenette Knight before Dawnalee Loney anchored the team to victory in 3:38.20 minutes over Trinidad and Tobago with 3:46.11 and the Bahamas third in 3:47.64.
The team of Ivan Henry, Okeen Williams, Marco Doonaughtsingh and Nathon Allen was second in 3:07.71 minutes for the record-breaking 85th medal of the Games. Trinidad and Tobago won in 3:06.02 with the Bahamas some way back in third with 3:11.32 minutes.