BVI sweeps 4x400m Relays to retain OECS track title

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By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Trailing host Grenada on the medal table 3-6 on Saturday, the BVI won seven medals on Sunday to retain the OECS Track and Field Championships crown they won at home last year.

ST. GEORGES, Grenada—Shaniyah Caul and Khari Herbert anchored the BVI’s Women and Men’s 4x400m Relays to victory with national record runs, capping off seven gold medals on Sunday, as the BVI successfully defend its OECS Track and Field Championships crown, by snatching the title from hosts Grenada.

Grenada led the competition with six gold medals after Saturday’s opening day, with the BVI in third behind St. Kitts and Nevis’ four, with three.

On Sunday afternoon in the Kirani James Athletics Stadium, the climatic beginning for the title began.

Last year on home soil, Ashley Kelly won the 400m title but skipped the event this year and won the 200m, to get the BVI medal tally rolling with a 23.98 seconds victory.  She was followed by Tarika “Tinkerbell” Moses in 24.27.

After a second place in the Discus Throw with an effort of 48.31m (158’6’) Eldred Henry defended his Shot Put title with a throw of 18.70m (61’4¼”) while Djimon Gumbs—third in the Discus with 48.10m (157’9¾”) placed fourth in his first senior competition, using the heavier implement to reach 13.66m (44’9¾”).

Tynelle Gumbs followed by breaking her own Discus Throw record of 47.51m (155’10½”) with a toss of 48.44m (158’11”) and twin sister Trevia was second with 45.70 (149”11½”). Tynelle, the Female Athletes of the Meet, grabbed Trevia’s Shot Put BVI national record on Saturday with a 15.23m (49’11½”) effort while Trevia followed with 14.34 (47’0½”).

Kyron McMaster obliterated his 51.02 seconds 400m Hurdles met record from last year, stopping the clock at 48.49 seconds, a time that also broke the USA’s Qunicy Downing stadium record of 48.80, set in April.

Kala Penn, who was second to Chantel Malone’s 6.67m (21’10½”) Long Jump effort with 6.12m (20’1”), then won the Triple Jump with a bound of 12.64m (41’5¾”), pulled the BVI even with Grenada on the medal table at 8-8, after Grenada’s Anderson Peters had the best Javelin Throw ever by a Grenadian of 84.81m (278’3”) setting up the relay showdown for the title.

Kelly and Moses gave the BVI the early lead in the Women’s 4x 400m Relay before a strong leg from Grenada’s Amanda Crawford pulled them back into the race, but Beyonce DeFreitas, fifth in the open 400m in 55.93, kept her at bay on the home stretch. Caul of Virgin Gorda, sixth behind DeFreitas in 56.24, ran a strong anchor leg to lead the team to victory in 3 minutes 34.76 seconds. The time improved the BVI’s 3:39.74 meet record and wiped out the 2009 national record mark of 3:37.62, set by Samantha John, Chantel Malone, Kelly and Dominique Maloney, in Cuba.

Grenada with a chance to tie the BVI at 9-9 in gold medals, put up a short lived fight. Ronique Todman had given Tarique Moses a lead that he relinquished. Adriano Gumbs took back the lead before fading in the last 50m, handing off to Khari Herbert, who was second in the 400m with 46.67 seconds, trailing St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia runners. Herbert however, powered past St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Kemroy Cupid for victory in 3:11.03, -3:11.68, assuring the BVI the crown.

The time wiped out the 33 year old BVI record of 3:11.89, set by the BVI’s 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games team of Guy Hill, Jerry Molyneaux, Dean Greenaway and Lindel Hodge.

The BVI finished with 10 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals while Grenada had 8 gold, four silver and seven bronze. St. Kitts-Nevis rounded out the top three with 4 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze.

On Saturday, the team of Taheisia Harrigan-Scott, Kelly, Moses and Karene King, won the 4x100m Relay in 44.80 seconds.

Harrigan-Scott was second in the 100m in 11.62 seconds, matching the time she ran in the prelims. King was sixth in 12.10 after an 11.97 semi. Rikkoi Brathwaite placed third in the Men’s 100m in 10.50 seconds following 10.46 in the semis.

Shaquoy Stephens who who false started in the 100m final after running 10.68 in the semis, led off the 4x100m Relay, that also included McMaster, Todman and Brathwaite, placed third in 40.52 seconds, following a botched hand off between Todman and McMaster.

Meanwhile, Malone’s 6.67m (21’10½”) leap on her opening attempt in her first competition coming off an April injury and winning the the Long Jump last week in Trinidad and Tobago with a wind aided 6.70m (21’11¾”) effort, improved her own championships record of 6.38m (20’11¼”) set on home soil last year.

“I think it was a pretty solid day,” said Malone who climbed from No 46 to =No 19 in the IAAF rankings and also =No 1 in the Caribbean, tying the Bahamas’ Bianca Stuart for the best mark among regional jumpers.

“Going into the last meet and this meet, my whole thought process was just to go out there, do my best and try to come out in one piece. It has been a rough past two months for me coming back from fracturing my foot. Honestly, for anything right now, I’m thankful.”

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