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The Bahamas up there with Jamaica in the sprints

  • Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, pictured, was a triple gold medalist at the 41st LIME CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, in Hamilton, Bermuda. She won the Austin Sealey award for the second year in a row. The Bahamas won 19 medals in the sprints and relays combined compared to 22 for Jamaica. Photo courtesy of RAS MYKKAL

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: Apr 26, 2012

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For years, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has used Jamaica as a benchmark, in terms of performances, on the junior level. The executives in the association were certain that as long as Bahamian athletes stayed ‘neck and neck’ with the Jamaicans, The Bahamas would be in the medal hunt in most events.

The dominant performances by the junior athletes in the sprint events at the recently held CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, staged in Bermuda over the Easter holiday weekend, left many Bahamians confident that the country has either evened the playing field or surpassed their Caribbean counterpart in the sprints.

Of the 36 medals that were up for grabs in the sprints, The Bahamas won 12. When the relays were added, it brought the total to 19. Overall, Jamaica won CARIFTA and The Bahamas was second. They won 22 medals in the sprints and the relays. The small difference has BAAA President Mike Sands confident that the athletic program of The Bahamas is on target. Come next year, Sands is predicting better results as junior athletes will be competing at home. The Bahamas won the bid to host the 2013 CARIFTA Track and Field Championships while in Bermuda.

Sands said: “The performances of our athletes speak to the fact that we are on the same level as Jamaica. It shows that we have the skill set of the coaches and the athletes to compete with anyone in the region and indeed the world. There is no question in my mind that the growth is going to continue. The performances again have spurred interest and created a little bit more incentive for our athletes. They know what they can do. I believe that you can find this new form of confidence transcending into the continued growth in the program and the athletes’ performances.”

In the under-20 boys’ division, The Bahamas picked up a silver in the 100 meters (m). Shane Jones ran 10.41 seconds to finish second behind Jamaica’s Jazeel Murphy (10.31 seconds). Jamaican Jevaughn Minzie originally finished second in 10.33 seconds, but The Bahamas won a protest citing that Minzie jumped the gun. Delano Williams, from the Turks and Caicos, was the gold medalist in the half-lap race, winning in 20.83 seconds. Bahamians Blake Bartlett and Teray Smith were second and third. Freeport native Bartlett ran 21.08 seconds and Smith finished in 21.18 seconds, adding the silver and bronze medals to Team Bahamas’ collection.

A gold was won in the under-20 boys 400m for

The Bahamas by O’Jay Ferguson. His time was 47.32 seconds. Jamaica got the bronze in that event.

The Bahamas’ under-20 boys’ teams swept the relays, winning the 4x100m and the 4x400m. The sprint relay squad included Smith, Bartlett, Jonathan Farquharson and Jones. Jamaica was second and the Turks and Caicos finished third. In the 1,600m relay, the team of Julian Munroe, Elroy Bodie, Stephen Newbold and O’Jay Ferguson clocked 3:09.23. Trinidad and Tobago got the silver, leaving Jamaica to settle for the bronze.

In the under-20 boys’ division, The Bahamas picked up six medals over the sprints and relays, one more than Jamaica. This was also the case in the under-20 girls’ division.

Anthonique Strachan pulled off the double, winning the 100m and the 200m. In the 100m, it was Strachan and Carmiesha Cox who did a one-two punch for The Bahamas. Strachan then teamed up with Shaunae Miller, in the 200m, for the gold and silver respectively. In both sprint races Jamaica finished third.

Thanks to Rashan Brown, the Jamaicans had to settle for second and third in the 400m. Brown stopped the clock in 54.92 seconds for the win over Olivia James and Genekee Leith.

It was a see-saw battle between The Bahamas and Jamaica in the relays. The Bahamas went on to win the 4x100m in 45.02 seconds with Jamaica placing second and Barbados third. In the 1,600m relay, Jamaica returned and avenged the loss by winning in 3:34.27. The Bahamas’ team of Brown, Katrina Seymour, Rhoneshia Johnson and Miller crossed the finish line second in 3:40.44. Once again Barbados was third.

It was the under-17 boys’ and girls’ divisions where Jamaica gained ground on The Bahamas. Jamaica picked up one medal over the 100m and 200m in the under-17 boys’ division while The Bahamas got two, thanks to Cliff Resias.

Resias won gold in the 100m, crossing the tape in 10.67 seconds and silver in the 200m, in 22.06 seconds. Janeko Cartwright won gold in the under-17 boys 400m, leaving Jamaica to pick up the silver and bronze medals.

Heading into the two relays The Bahamas and Jamaica had won three medals each, but Jamaica got the edge over The Bahamas by pulling off the double victory in the two relays. The Bahamas picked up a silver in the 4x100m and did not finish in the 4x400m as the second leg runner dropped the baton.

While Jamaica collected five medals, in the sprints for under-17 girls, The Bahamas was only able to get one. That one medal, a silver, came in the 400m. Juannae Lewis ran 57.64 seconds to finish behind Yanique McNeil of Jamaica. The Bahamas placed second in both the 4x100m and the 4x400m events.

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