Jamaica begin quest for honours at 48th Carifta Games today

Saturday, April 20, 2019

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Jamaica's powerful junior track and field team will start their annual assault on the region today when the 48th Carifta Games get under way at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands and will continue through to Monday evening.

The much-anticipated regional championships are being held in the Cayman Islands for only the third time — 1995 and 2010 being the previous occasions — and 28 countries are scheduled to compete in 66 events over two age groups and two genders.

Twenty-two events are scheduled to be decided on today's first day and will be headlined by the 100m in all four sections, the boys' and girls' Under-17 and Under-20 age groups.

It is still undecided if IAAF World Under-20 female sprint double champion Briana Williams, who won the Under-20 girls' double at the Trials will contest the double this weekend.

The organisers have made changes in the schedule, putting both sections of the 200m on Sunday's second day after running both sections of the 100m today, and Williams' coach Ato Bolden had said two weeks ago he did not want to put her health in jeopardy.

Williams is the current holder of the Austin Sealy Award, given to the Most Outstanding athlete after she took the Under-17 double last year on her way to three gold medals.

The Jamaicans have topped the medals table on 42 of the 47 times the championships have been held and the last 34 years in a row.

A one-week break between the staging of the ISSA High School Athletics Championships and the Carifta Trials saw a number of the island's top youngsters opt out of the chance to represent the country.

Even without those who chose to stay away from the Trials held two weeks ago, the Jamaican team that includes three individual medallists from last year's IAAF World Under-20 championships is still expected to easily top the table and could surpass the 82 medals they took home last year, including a record 44 gold medals.

Two of the three will be in action today — Williams in the Under-20 girls' 100m and Kai Chang in the Under-20 boys' discus throw where he placed second to teammate Roje Stona last year.

The finals that will be completed today are all four high jumps, the girls in the morning session and boys in the afternoon; all four 1500m races; male and female Under-17 shot put; male and female Under-20 discus throw, female Under-20 long jump, Under-20 female javelin throw as well as the semis and finals of the 100m and 400m in all four sections.

Williams and Kemba Nelson will line up in the Under-20 women's 100m semi-finals, while Trials winner Ryiem Robertson and ISSA Champs Class One winner Oblique Seville will represent Jamaica in the Under-20 boys' race.

Adrian Kerr and Bouwajhie Nkrumi will be the flag bearers in the Under-17 boys' section, while Carletta Bernard and Glacian Loutin will chase the medals in the Under-17 girls' section.

In the Under-17 boys' 400m, Tariq Dacres and Jahj Hamm will wear the black, green and gold; in the Under-17 girls, it will be Dejenea Oakley and Rickiann Russell.

Shaquena Foote and Anna-Kay Allen will run the Under-20 girls' 400m with Anthony Cox and Evaldo Whitehorne going in the Under-20 boys' section.

Chang, who will be chasing the Carifta Games record 66.41m set by Stona two years ago in Curacao, will have Ralford Mullings with him in the event.

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