Carifta Champ Croal Opens Season With 400m Personal Best

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Caption: Jaleel Croal entering the 400m home stretch 

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

On the back end of a 100m victory in 10.80 seconds into a -3.4 meters per second headwind, 2019 Carifta Games U17 Boys 200m gold medalist Jaleel Croal ran a 400m personal best of 48.82 seconds, chopping more than a second off his previous best, for another victory. 

“I gave myself a thumbs up because I did two great runs and my coach is proud and I am proud,” Croal said. “That’s all that matters. I have to work on my strength and keeping my knees up because I have too much kickback and I have to fix that.”

Croal said he wanted to run faster in the 100m but the headwind was like running into a Hurricane. 

“But I feel good because I ran such a fast time in this kind of wind,” he said. “It felt good. I didn’t have any faults in the race.”

What does 48.82 to open the season tell him?

“It tells me that there’s a great season ahead of me,” said Croal who will compete in the U20 Boys Division during the April 11-13 Carifta Games in Bermuda. “I’m looking forward to medal again. It doesn’t change because of my age or moving up in division. I know I can do it.”

Palesa Caesar who was the first of two Carifta Games qualifiers on Dec 23 and will again compet in the U17 Girls Division, threw 36.48m to win. The early qualifier she said meant she didn’t have to worry about it at the start of the season. 

“One thing I would like to correct about my throw is my steps and my release,” she said. “Today was extra windy and I blame it on the wind. My steps weren’t as perfect as I wanted it to be.”

Orlando Douglas who debuted in the U17 Boys Class is eyeing qualification in the same division this year. 

“Today’s competition was very hard and I was trying to qualify in the shot put and threw 12.41m and the qualifying is 15.75m,” he said. “But the discus is my main event and as Palesa said, the wind had us today. My gold is to place in the Carifta Games and get about silver. I’m looking to throw about 50m.”

Tashara Edwards who has represented the territory before in the U17 Girls Division, is looking to qualify in the 400m Hurdles. Her aim was to run 42 seconds in the 300m but had to settle for 45.02 because of the strong winds.

“This year, I think I can run faster than 62 seconds to medal in Carifta,” said Edwards who ran 58.38 to win the 400m.  “The 400 is the race to help me in the 400m hurdles, so I’m proud of what I ran today.”

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