Team Bahamas wins CARIFTA Judo
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Apr 10, 2017
Following a grueling weekend of competition on the mats at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, Team Bahamas emerged as the victors of the first ever CARIFTA Judo Championships.
Although judo is still fairly new to The Bahamas and considered a niche sport for the most part, Team Bahamas looked superior compared to its competition, winning nine out of the 16 contested weight categories.
The Bahamas finished the competition with 236 points, almost 200 points ahead of second place finisher Trinidad and Tobago with 44 points. Suriname finished third with 30 points, Curacao was fourth with 14 points, Aruba rounded out the top five with 10 points and Barbados brought up the rear end with six points.
The Bahamas tallied a total of 38 medals over the course of the competition — 11 gold, 11 silver and 16 bronze.
Following the individual CARIFTA matches, the team event took place. During this segment, athletes from different countries were drafted to different teams to compete. According to Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) President D’Arcy Rahming Sr., the team event was put on to foster new relationships between athletes from different countries.
The Island Judokas went on to win the team competition. Four Bahamians were on that squad (Robert Pennerman, Alexia Smith, Keyon Cumberbatch and Breanna Major).
“This is exactly what I envisioned when we elected to host these judo championships,” said Rahming.
“This is what it’s all about, more unity in the Caribbean. That’s why the last competition was a mixed-team competition, so that everyone would be cheering for one another, regardless of country. I have seen many friendships developing over these two days. The kids are trading social media pages and numbers so that they can communicate, and it is with great pleasure that I see this. As far as our performance, it was fantastic. The competition here was tough. I understand, for example, that the Trinidadians do a lot of training with the Germans, who are excellent at judo, so the level of competition was higher than I expected, but we made it through.”
Rahming said that federation’s CARIFTA title celebration would be short lived, for the fact that they now have to prepare to take on even tougher competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games in a matter of months. The 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games is set for July 19–24 in New Providence.
“We know that we still have quite a bit of work to do before we take on the competition at the youth games,” he said. “We have to go back to the tape and see the areas where we are the weakest. There are some opportunities that we missed out on here, and we hope that we can take advantage of them the next time out.”
Commonwealth Youth Games Chairman and Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Wellington Miller was also on hand to witness Team Bahamas’ historic victory on Saturday. He said that he applauds the BJF’s effort in hosting the event, and is looking forward to the judo segment of the Commonwealth Youth Games.
“The team really put out a great effort. The kids loved it. Seeing their faces really makes hosting these kinds of events worthwhile,” he said. “Seeing the way CARIFTA judo ran raises my confidence even more. I spoke with two officials from the International Judo Federation (IJF), and they said they are now considering hosting the World Judo Championships here. This was a well executed event.”
Some of the individual event category winners are Sarah Thompson (under-15 girls 40kg.), Luca Chiacchari (under-15 boys 50kg.), Lopez Giovanni (under-15 boys 60kg.), Kaylee Roberts (under-15 girls – over 57kg.) Desmond Bootle (under-21 boys – under 60kg.), Taryn Butler (under-21 girls – under 57kg.), Desmondo Bootle (under-21 boys – under 90kg.) and Raven Pennerman (under-21 girls – under 90kg.).