Jamaica dominate opening day of 43rd Carifta Games with 23 medals
THE Jamaican junior sprinters reclaimed their supremacy at the regional level with a marvellous show of speed on yesterday's first day of the 43rd Carifta Games at the Stade Municipal Pierre Aliker in Martinique by sweeping all four 100-metre finals.
After several years of being beaten into submission by their Caribbean neighbours at the regional championships, despite their dominance at the global level, the Jamaicans roared back last night with a show of might not seen at these championships in years and said "we are back!"
The Jamaicans won six medals in the 100m sprints, four gold and two bronze, in their total of 23 medals overall earned on the first day: 12 gold, six silver and five bronze.
Team captains Jevaughn Minzie and Jonielle Smith in the Under-20 sections, as well as Waseem Williams and Kimone Shaw in the Under-18 races, brought the show to a spectacular end, as the Jamaicans shone brightly on a day affected by rain and windy conditions.
Minzie, who has had his fair share of unfortunate incidents at these championships, ran a brilliant 10.18 seconds (1.7m/s) after a less than stellar start to beat Levi Cadogan of Barbados (10.25 seconds) and Trinidad and Tobago's Jonathon Farinhan, who timed 10.27 seconds.
Smith outclassed the Under-20 girls' field to run 11.17 seconds, pushed by a massive 5.1 metres per second wind, to take the gold ahead of Trinidad's Aaliyah Telesford in 11.42 seconds, and Kedisha Dallas, also of Jamaica, in third place with 11.44 seconds.
Williams, who was fifth at the Carifta Trials but got into the team due to injuries to others, made good on his second chance by winning the Under-18 boys in 10.36 seconds.
Shaw won the Under-18 girls' 100m in a wind-aided 11.42 seconds (3.3m/s) before telling reporters she was the next Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce. "I want to do all she has done."
Janae Ambrise of the Bahamas was second in 11.62 seconds, just ahead of Bermuda's Nelda Huggings in 11.64 seconds.
However, the Jamaica Observer understands that a decision was taken by the meet organisers late last evening to have the boys' Under-18 100 metres final rerun this morning, following complaints of a faulty start.
Vashon McCarthy, who missed Champs, made up by retaining his Under-18 discus throw title with a meet record 54.41m, beating teammate Warren Barrett Jnr, who threw 53.67m for the silver. Barrett Jnr will try to defend his shot put title today.
IAAF World Youth Championships gold medal winner Martin Manley retained his Under-18 boys' 400m title, clocking 47.47 seconds to beat Henry Delauze of the Bahamas to the line.
Last year's winner Tiffany James was, however, upset in the girls' Under-18, beaten to the line by Barbados' Sada Williams, who won in 53.39 seconds, ahead of the Jamaican with 53.79, as Meleni Rodney of Grenada finished third in 54.45 seconds.
Trinidad's Machel Cedenio retained the Under-20 boys' 400m in 45.99 seconds, beating the Jamaican Nathan Allen (46.97 seconds), while Jamaica's Ivan Henry was fourth.
Natasha Baird of Guyana took the Under-20 girls in 53.48 seconds ahead of two Jamaicans -- Dawnalee Loney in 53.90 seconds, and Yanique McNeil in 54.49 seconds.
Earlier in the first session Jamaica got off to a fast start winning four medals: three gold and a bronze. Rochelle Fraser won the Under-20 girls' shot put with a best heave of 13.63m to beat Jess St John of Antigua and Barbuda (13.26m), and Portius Warren of Trinidad with 12.70m.
Two of the medals came in the Under-18 girls' discus, as Janel Fullerton took the gold with 46.47m, and teammate Devia Brown won the bronze with 43.31m, with Chelsea James of Trinidad second with 43.53m.
Fourteen-year-old Lamara Distin won the Under-18 girls' high jump, clearing 1.68m, while three jumpers -- Martinique's Jeanine Allard St Albin, Bermuda's Sakari Famous, and St Lucia's Ashlee Edward -- all tied for second with a clearance of 1.60m.
The other Jamaican, Shania Ingram, also cleared 1.60m, but was fifth on the count back.
Javauny James retained his Under-18 boys' 1,500m with yet another brilliant run, dominating the field over the last 800m to win in 4 minutes 07.83 seconds, beating the Bahamas' Benjamin Najman and Akeem Marshall.
Chadoye Dawson won the Under-20 gold medal in 3 minutes 56.95 seconds, ahead of Trinidad's Nicholas Landeau and Bermuda's Dago Minors.
Sasha Gay White ran away from teammate Monique McPherson as Jamaica took gold and silver in the Under-20 girls' 1,500m. White won in 4 minutes 42.44 seconds to McPherson's 4 minutes 44.08 seconds. Martinique's Cheryl Fariel was third.
Britnie Dixon was third in the Under-18 girls' 1,500m in 4 minutes 53.84 seconds behind Guyana's Cassey George in 4 minutes 40.40 seconds, and Bermuda's Felicia Scraders (4 minutes 43.30 seconds).
Jordan Scott with 15.75m was second in the Under-18 boys' triple jump, and Obrien Wasom was third in 15.59m, both beaten by Suriname's Miguel Van Assen, who jumped an impressive 16.33m.
On today's second day of the three-day championships, the athletes will take part in the 200m semi-finals, 800m, 3,000m open for both sexes, heats and finals of 4x100m relays, the 400m hurdles semi-finals and finals in all categories.
In the field, there will also be competition in the high jump Under-18 boys, long jump Under-18 girls, javelin Under-20 boys, Under-20 girls' triple jump, long jump Under-20 boys and discus Under-20 girls.