|The time is now for the juniors!|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jun 27, 2012
Building on the country’s most successful CARIFTA Games in 28 years, junior athletes are prepared to keep the ball rolling as they venture into two very important meets.
A 47-member team leaves for the Jr. Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador, today, and in a little over a week, a 25-member team will head to the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Actually, 18 members of that Jr. CAC team will head from El Salvador directly to Barcelona for the World Juniors. The Jr. CAC Championships are set for this weekend, Friday to Sunday, and the World Juniors will be held July 10-15.
“We are very excited about the make-up of these teams,” said Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) President Mike Sands yesterday. “The Jr. CAC team is very similar to the CARIFTA team, but the competition is going to be much stiffer with the addition of Central America and countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Colombia. They are all a part of the CAC. We expect these kids to perform at the best and make their country proud. These are basically the same athletes from CARIFTA with the addition of a few others. There are some young new athletes who we found and were added to the team and they are going to add some strength to the team.”
The competition will get underway on the track with the 100 meters (m), 400m hurdles and 800m on Friday, and with the under-18 and
under-20 girls long jump, and under-18 and under-20 boys shot put, in the field. The team consists of 15 members each in the under-18 and under-20 boys divisions, 10 in the under-18 girls division, and seven in the under-20 girls division.
“This team is going to make The Bahamas very proud,” said Sands yesterday. “I think that it is one of the best junior teams that we have ever assembled. We saw at CARIFTA where the team was able to do some wonderful things and we expect that to continue. We believe that this is going to be a breakthrough year for the junior athletes. We have already seen where they have turned in some fantastic performances and those performances should get better. The sky is the limit for them.”
With the IAAF World Junior Championships being held directly on the heels of the Jr. CAC Championships, a number of the athletes, 18 in total, will head straight to Barcelona. The IAAF has organized a two-day camp for the World Junior athletes.
“I think it gives the athletes an opportunity to acclimatize themselves to the conditions in Barcelona and the facility down there,” said Sands. “That will be huge for the athletes from this region, and will go a long way toward improving their performances. At the end of the day, we expect this team to do very well.”
A number of individual medalists from the CARIFTA Games will represent The Bahamas at the Jr. CAC Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador, this weekend, and the IAAF World Junior Championships, in two week’s time.