BVI Withdraws From IAAF World Youth Championships In Kenya

The BVI's NACAC Age Group Championships team: L-R; Kishawn Martin,  Malaki Smith,  Delano Hodge,  Ariyah Smith,  Aniya Findlay, Akeela McMaster, Azariah Christopher and  Jelani Croal. PHOTO: Cleave M. Farrington

The BVI’s NACAC Age Group Championships team: L-R; Kishawn Martin, Malaki Smith, Delano Hodge, Ariyah Smith, Aniya Findlay, Akeela McMaster, Azariah Christopher and Jelani Croal. PHOTO: Cleave M. Farrington

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

The BVI Athletics Association confirmed that they will not be sending athletes to the July 12-16 International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

The BVIAA joined the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan among several other countries who are skipping the event for security reasons including Barbados which on Thursday, announced that they will not be fielding a team. The BVI will instead, participate in the July 21-23, Pan Am Jr. Championships in Lima, Peru and will also field a delegation in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, July 19-23.

The IAAF has announced that this will be the final edition of its biennial event that targets 16-17 year old boys and girls. The event began in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The IAAF doesn’t believe that the championships is the correct pathway for development as a large number of promising young athletes have not blossomed at the senior level.

Instead the IAAF will move its focus to U18 Championships at the Continental levels among its six regions.

The Carifta Games has been the bedrock of development of Caribbean athletes for the last 47 years. With the IAAF discarding the U18 Championships, the Carifta Games which aligned with the IAAF Youth ages of 16-17 and had an U18 and U20 competition for the last four years, will revert to its original U17 and U20 format beginning in 2018.

The BVI quartet of Taylor Hill, Nelda Huggins, Jonel Lacey and Tarika “Tinkerbell” Moses, won a silver medal in the Medley Relay in 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner ran in the semis and helped get the team to the final.

Meanwhile, the BVIAA is fielding a full squad in this weekend’s North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Age Group Championships, formerly the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Age Group Championships, in Trinidad. The competition targets 11-12 and 13-14 Boys and Girls, who compete in a Heptathlon and Pentathlon. The 11-13 Age Group contests the 60m, Long Jump, High Jump, Ball Throw 800m (Girls) 1000m (Boys).

The 13-14 Age Group athletes will see action in the 80m, 80m Hurdles, Long Jump, High Jump, Ball Throw, Shot Put, 1000m (Girls) and 1200m (Boys).

The BVI which hosted the competition in 2011, will field a full team, which is comprised of: 11-12 Girls: Akeela McMaster, Fast Lane Track Club and Anaya Findlay, Raw Skillz Track Club. 11-12 Boys: Delano Hodge, Top Notch and Kishsawn Martin, Sprint Tech. 13-14 Girls: Ariyah Smith, Sprint Tech, and Azariah Christopher, Sprint Tech. Boys: Maliaki Smith, Top Notch and Jaleel Croal, Sprint Tech. Smith won an 11-12 Boys 60m silver medal and a Baseball Throw bronze medal in 2015, when the competition was also held in Trinidad. Accompanying officials are Head Coach and manager, Ericca Frederick. Assistant Coaches; Omar Jones, Burt Dorsette and Erwin “Reds” Telemague.

At the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner, a Clemson freshman, had a 54.46 second third leg split in the semifinal of her team’s 1600m Relay, that ran 3 minutes, 35.89 seconds, but did not advance.

Elsewhere, winds robbed the BVI’s Ashley Kelly off a 200m seasons best at the USTAF Club Championships in New York. Kelly finished second in 23.27 seconds with a 2.3 meters per second wind reading over the allowable 2.0. She ran 23.57 (+2.3) in the semis. Kelly had a season’s best of 53.42 seconds 400m victory.

In Florida, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott ran 11.46 second in the 100m and placed sixth. The race had a +2.1 mps wind reading.

At the Florida Northwest Classic, Adriano Gumbs ran a 400m personal best of 48.49 seconds to win the event, while Akeem Bradshaw recorded a season’s best of 14.98m (49’1¾”) to win the Triple Jump. Bradshaw and Gumbs placed first and second in the 200m with times of 22.17 seconds and 23.01 respectively.

Twin brothers Djimon and Diamante Gumbs went 1-2 in the Shot Put with marks of 15.20m (49’ 10½”) and 14.32 (46’11¾”) respectively. They also occupied the top spots in the Discus Throw, with measurements of 49.76m (163’3”) and 47.73m (156’7¼).