|Gold rush on the first night!|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Apr 11, 2012
HAMILTON, Bermuda – The first night of competition here at these 41st CARIFTA Track and Field Championships in Hamilton, Bermuda, ended in a gold rush for Team Bahamas.
After being shut out in the morning session, The Bahamas responded with a very strong night, on Saturday, at the National Sports Centre, here in Bermuda. The Bahamas won six gold medals in the night session – second only to Jamaica.
The Jamaicans were dominant throughout as they ended the first day of competition with 27 total medals – 13 gold, six silver and eight bronze. The Bahamas finished Day One with 13 total medals – six gold, three silver and four bronze. Remarkably, Guadeloupe and the British Virgin Islands were the only other countries with gold medals – one apiece.
Young Janeko Cartwright got the gold rush started for The Bahamas on Saturday with a spirited run in the under-17 boys 400 meters (m). Cartwright qualified with the second fastest time, running 51.07 seconds in the morning heats, and really got out fast in the final in galloping to a gold medal in 50.04 seconds. Jamaica got silver and bronze in the persons of Ivan Henry (50.69 seconds) and Devaughn Baker (50.75 seconds).
“I’m very happy,” said Cartwright. “I felt like I had to get out to a fast start with all this wind, and I did that. The back stretch was key to me. I had to execute on the back stretch and just bring it home for The Bahamas. I wanted the record but I’ll satisfy with the gold. We have a strong 4x4 team and we’re going after the gold in that as well.”
Bahamian Kinard Rolle was also in that 400m final Saturday night, and crossed the finish line in sixth place, in 51.47 seconds.
“I didn’t feel too good coming out of the blocks, but overall, it was pretty good,” said Rolle. “Janeko got the gold medal and I’m happy about that because he worked hard for it. He ran a good race and he deserved it.”
One race after the first gold for The Bahamas, the country struck gold again. This time it came from Rashan Brown in the under-20 girls 400m. With World Youth and World Junior Champion Shaunae Miller opting out of the 400m, Brown ‘picked up the slack’ as she galloped around the track in 54.92 seconds for the gold medal. Jamaicans occupied the second and third spots, with Olivia James finishing second in 55.35 seconds, and Genekee Leith finishing third in 56.68 seconds.
“I just thank God that I came through injury-free,” said Brown, arguably The Bahamas’ most shocking gold medalist of the night. “I came to collect the gold medal and I did that so I’m happy. I’ve only been training for several weeks and I didn’t plan on running the 400, so I’m very happy with the result. I’m expecting big things for the 4x400 team now. We have a great chance of winning the gold medal,” she added.
What made the result so stunning was the fact that Brown was actually running her first competitive 400m of the year. Her first meet of the year was the Colina CARIFTA Trials, and she opted to run the 200m at that meet. Bahamian Rhoneshia Johnson was also in that 400m final Saturday night, and came through the finish line in sixth place, in 59.67 seconds.
“My first 200 was good. I tried to keep the pace when I reached the bend, but I didn’t kick on time and that caused me,” said Johnson who was enjoying her first experience on the CARIFTA Team. “I know I could have done better but I’m happy for my teammate. We got the gold and that’s all that matters,” she added.
Ojay Ferguson made it three in a row for The Bahamas as he defended his under-20 boys 400m title, winning the gold medal in 47.32 seconds. Macel Cedenio, from Trinidad & Tobago, won the silver medal with a time of 47.93 seconds, and Jamaican Lennox Williams captured the bronze with a time of 48.53 seconds. Bahamian Elroy McBride was also in that race, and finished fourth, in 49.47 seconds.
“The goal was to get the gold medal here tonight and I did that,” said Ferguson. “I went out hard and used my speed to bring me home. I know that my family is going crazy and my friends are going crazy. I know they’re proud of me and I’m proud of myself also. I wasn’t too worried about the cold - I just wanted to go out there and run a crazy time. It was very cold but I worked with it.”
The temperature hovered around 55 degrees Saturday night at the Bermuda National Sports Centre, but that didn’t stop the gold rush from continuing for The Bahamas. After winning three of the 400m events, The Bahamas got right back to work in the 100m.
The marquee event of the night, the under-20 girls 100m, saw Anthonique Strachan and Carmeisha Cox, finish first and second for The Bahamas. Strachan won the gold medal in a wind-aided 11.22 seconds, and Cox settled for the silver medal in 11.54 seconds.
“I’m very happy,” said Strachan. “I matched my PR (personal best) so I’m very happy with that. I knew that once I came out here and execute, I would be fine. I was able to do that and continue this gold rush for The Bahamas. Hopefully, we could continue that for the rest of the meet.”
Cox was equally s impressive in finishing second for The Bahamas. If not for strong tailwind, it would have gone down as a very fast time for her.
“I just kept in my head on what my coaches told me and how to execute each step,” said Cox. “I saw Anthonique got out and I just wanted to go with her. I’m very happy with the time. It shows that I am getting faster. I still have some things to work on, but I’m ecstatic with the progress I’m making and just look to keep getting faster,” she added.
Also winning gold in the sprints for The Bahamas was Cliff Resias. In arguably the most exciting finish of the night, Resias out-leaned three other competitors for the gold medal, in 10.67 seconds. Jamaican Michael O’Hara held on for the silver medal, in 10.68 seconds, and Nicholas Douglas, from Trinidad & Tobago, won the bronze medal, in 10.69 seconds. The top four were separated by four one hundredths of a second, as Bajan Mario Burke was left off the medal stand, running 10.71 seconds for fourth.
“I felt real good about it. I knew that I just had to drive hard, get up and just finish it off,” said Resias. “When I got up, I felt like I already had the race won. I just continued to push and dipped at the line. I knew it was close but I just focused on my race and got the gold,” he added.
Bahamian Ian Kerr also took part in that under-17 boys 100m final, and finished fifth, in 10.89 seconds.
The final gold medal of the night came from Raquel Williams in the under-20 girls shot put. Williams had a best throw of 13.08m (42’ 11”) for the gold. Jamaican Gleneve Grange won the silver medal with a best throw of 12.83m (42’ 1”), and Catherine Mastail, from Martinique, held on for the bronze medal, with a best throw of 12.78m (41’ 11-1/4”). Bahamian Cymone Hamilton finished sixth in that event, with a best throw of 12.75m (41’ 10”).
“Even though I didn’t do a personal best, it’s another gold medal for The Bahamas and I’m very happy about that. I know that I could have thrown better, but it was good enough to get the gold,” said Williams.
Overall, The Bahamas was most dominant in the sprints on Saturday night. They won three of the four gold medals up for grabs in the 400m events, and took two out of the four gold medals in the 100m events. The only 400m title The Bahamas didn’t take was the under-17 girls title. Juannae Lewis finished second in that race, in 57.64 seconds. Jamaican Yanique McNeil was the winner, in 55.82 seconds, and Sareena Carti, of Guadeloupe, held on for the bronze medal, in 57.75 seconds.
“I went out there to do my best and came back with a silver, so I feel very good about that. I’m satisfied,” said Lewis. “It wasn’t one of my fastest times, but I feel that it was a good race for me considering the conditions,” she added.
The Bahamas was anticipating even more gold in the Under-20 Boys 100m final Saturday night, as Jonathan Farquharson entered the event with the second fastest qualifying time, but he false started in the final. The Jamaicans went on to win gold and silver and The Bahamas’ Shane Jones settled for the bronze.
After two days of competition, The Bahamas sat in second place with 13 total medals – six gold, three silver and four bronze. Jamaica led the way with 27 total medals – 13 gold, six silver and eight bronze, and Guadeloupe was a distant third behind The Bahamas with four total medals – one gold, two silver and one bronze. The British Virgin Islands was the only other country with a gold medal.