By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Commonwealth Youth Games silver medalists Djimon Gumbs and Beyonce DeFreitas, will lead the BVI Athletics Association’s 12 athletes to the 47th CARIFTA Games in Nassau, Bahamas, March 31-April 2.
Leading the BVI team of 12, will be 2017 who won the territory’s first ever medals in the competition in Nassau, last year.
Gumbs—a who won Commonwealth Youth Games silver in the discus throw in Nassau last year—earned silver medals in both the shot put and discus throw events in last year’s CARIFTA Games held in Grenada, in the U18 Boys Division. DeFreitas, a finalist each of the last three years as an U18 athlete, is in search of her first CARIFTA Games medal, after grabbing Commonwealth Youth Games silver also on Nassau, in 2017. Her best CARIFTA Games finish has been fourth place. Both will compete in the U20 division.
The games that targets U20 athletes and has dropped the U18 Division and reverted to its original U17 Division, targeting athletes aged 13-16, by Dec 31 of the calendar year. The U18 Division was in accordance with the International Association of Athletics Federations youth division, that ran for five years and targeted 16-17 athletes. Following last year’s youth championships, the IAAF dropped the U18 division and each regional body making up its membership, was asked to come up with a format for its youth and junior athletes. The CARIFTA Games has used the U17 and U20 model since its inaugural event in Barbados in 1972.
An athlete for example turning 17 by December 31 this year, competes in the U20 Division.
The team is comprised of. U17 Girls: Xiomara “Gia” Malone, high Jump, 100m hurdles and long jump. Akrissa Eristee, 400m. Zara Brown, 100/200m. Boys: Malik John, 200/400m and Jaleel Croal, 100/200-meters.
U20 Girls: Beyonce DeFreitas, 200-meters. Arianna Hayde, long jump and Akira Phillip, javelin throw. Boys: Rikkoi Brathwaite, 100/200m. Joshua Hill, 200/400m. Diamante and Djimon Gumbs, shot put and discus throw.
Officials: Stephanie Russ Penn, Karene King, Cliff Williams, Erwin “Redz” Telemaque. Physio. Chester “Levi’ James. Media, Cleave Farrington.
On the collegiate scene, Clemson sophomore, Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner, was second in the 400m hurdles at North Florida Invite in Jacksonville, Florida. She had a season’s best time of 1 minute, 00.24 seconds. Warner led off the winning 4x400m relay that was timed in 3 minutes 36.41 seconds.
Central Iowa College sophomore Nelda Huggins was ninth in her 100-meters outdoor debut at the Arkansas Spring Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Huggins had a time of 11.85 seconds. She was seventh in the 200m in 24.35 seconds. Freshman teammate Akeem Bradshaw had a leap of 6.98 (22’11¾”) to place seventh in the long jump.
Coming off injury and running 26.46 seconds at the 67th annual TSU Relays in the 200m, Houston Baptist junior Taylor Hill followed up and placed fifth in her heat in 26.72 seconds, at the Victor Lopez Classic in Houston, Texas. She led off her team’s 4x100m relay that ran 47.55 seconds, to finish fifth. Hill opened her season at the TSU Relays with a time of 12.48 seconds in the 100m.
In her final CARIFTA Games tune up, Timber Creek High School sophomore Xiomara “Gia” Malone, was third in the long jump at the Pre State Meet in Jacksonville, Florida, after leaping 521m, (17’1¼”). She placed second in the 100m hurdles in 15.27 seconds.
Ashley Kelly had a second place finish in the 200m at the USF Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Florida, in her final tune up for the Commonwealth Games. She had a wind aided time of 23.75 seconds. Kelly has been nominated to the Pan Am Spots Commission as the head of sport development. Kelly said she was surprised by the appointment as Guyana’s Alian Pompey nominated her several months ago.
“I’m happy about being nominated. It’s great to know you can potentially have a positive impact on the next generation of athletes,” Kelly said. “I can help shape the development of the next wave of athletes so they have better opportunities and the Pan Am area can have a better representation at major games.”
Also at the USF Bulls Invitational, Chantel Malone improved her long jump season’s best to 6.41m (21’0½”), in winning the competition on her fifth attempt.
In the same competition, ASA Miami College sophomore Ronique Todman placed fifth in his 400-meters heat with a time of 49.28 seconds. He followed up with a season’s best of 21.86 seconds in the 200-meters to finish seventh in his heat. Todman ended his day with a second leg carry on the fourth placed 4x400m relay, that was timed in 3 minutes 13.73 seconds.