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Carifta is a big moment for me, says St Mary's Schaaffe

Thursday, April 18, 2019

After finishing third in the Class One Girls 800m final at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships last month, Abigail Schaaffe would have licked her lips when she looked at the field in the final of the Under-20 Girls 800m at the Carifta Trials.

Missing from the race were the two girls who finished ahead of her at Champs, Charokee Young of Hydel High and Shaquena Foote of Petersfield High.

But anyone who knows sport, knows that nothing is scripted or gifted and everything has to be earned, especially in track and field, and so it came as no surprise that Schaaffe was pushed to the line by Chericce Cope of Spaulding High.

In fact, Cope led the field into the home stretch and appeared as if she had the race won until the Eastern champion dug deep and found something extra to hit the front with less than 30 metres to go before holding on for the win.

Schaaffe later explained where the extra push came from to secure the win that appeared to have eluded her with 100m left in the race.

“That came from the 2.08 I ran at Champs, because I knew my potential from running that time, so I knew that I could do it because the girls that I was participating with, they did not run any time like that.”

Dominating at the Eastern Championships and claiming a medal at Champs has done a lot for her confidence and this provided the extra fuel for Schaaffe when she needed it most.

“I was expected to perform as I did, seeing that Shaquena Foote and Charokee Young were not there to pose a challenge on me. I lived up to my expectation and fulfilled them,” she declared.

Having toiled for years to make it to the Carifta Games

“It means a lot to me. I have tried for the Carifta team for years and years and I finally made it, so it's a big moment for me now and the fact that I will be representing my country, it makes it even better for me,” she said.

Making the team to represent her country simply adds to the joy for the Annotto Bay native who is still basking in her “Champs” success where she became the first athlete to medal for her school at the event in many years.

“I felt extremely good because it has been a long time since anyone has medalled at my school so the fact that I medalled, plus I ran a personal best, was exceptional for me.”

The Carifta Games which will be held in Cayman this weekend will mark the end of the season for Schaaffe who boasts a personal best of 2:08.89.

“My team won't be at Penns, so it's done there at the Carifta Games until next year. I will win as I always do,” she promised.

– Dwayne Richards

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