By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Djimon Gumbs continued the best season of his career with a Shot Put silver medal in the inaugural U23 Caribbean Games held in Guadeloupe. The 4x100m Relay quartet bagged bronze and the debuting 3×3 Women’s Basketball team made a good account of themselves.
Gumbs settled for a best throw of 17.99m (59’0¼”). Despite an unlooked for 16.71m (54’9¾”) effort, he said it was his “best series” in a while with five of his six marks 17.18m (56’4½”) or better.
“I was very consistent and I was waiting for the big one to get there, but it just didn’t,” said Gumbs, who threw a personal best 19.22m (63’0¾”) this year. “I felt good, I felt comfortable, started catching my groove and I just regret that there wasn’t as much energy as I would have wanted it to be, but besides that, I can’t complain about my series. Everything was good. Consistency is always key. Just that I didn’t connect today.”
Gumbs—the first Commonwealth Games medalist at any level when he won Discus Throw bronze in 2017—said winning the medal feels “very, very, good” to know his hard work isn’t going in vain. “Especially winning the first medal for BVI in the 1st U23 Caribbean Games to set the standard,” he said. “I enjoyed being around different teams, getting to experience something like this was very, very nice. This 1st Caribbean Games is definitely going down in my book as something I’ll never ever forget, and hopefully, the next time around, we get one spot higher than silver.”
His twin brother Diamate, had an unlooked for 6th place finish with 15.01m (49’3”). The 4x100m Relay quartet of Ke’Andre Campbell, Mikkel Bassue, Vadley Sylvester and Malik John, won bronze after stopping the clock at 42.24 seconds.
Other performances, Beyoncé DeFreitas was 5th in the 100m in 12.16 seconds. Mikkel Bassue had a non-advancing 4th place in his 100m heat in 10.86, while Ke’Andre Campbell was 4th in his heat in 11.07.
In the 400m, Malik John ran 49.48 seconds for 5th in his heat while Vadley Sylvester did not finish in his race.
In the Long Jump, Xiomara “Gia” Malone, was 5th after leaping 5.65m (18’6-1/2”), while
Arianna Hayde placed 6th in 5.43m (17’9-3/4”).
The 3×3 Women’s Basketball quartet made their debut with a spirited 15-12 loss to the Dominican Republic, after leading for most of the game. Puerto Rico fended them off, 21-16 before falling to host Guadeloupe, 16-12, in their last game.
“As a team, we learned that it’s going to take more work to get better outcomes,” Kiara Woodley told Island Sun Sports. “Personally, the experience playing against other teams was tough but we stuck together and played what we knew, which brought back the score in the game against Guadeloupe. We didn’t get many calls in our favor, but I’ve learned that’s the life of basketball.”
Woodley described her overall experience as “insightful” and said as their first time playing, it brought nothing but memorable moments. She thanked Coaches Ericca Frederick, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Eric Matthias and physio Levy James, for their “ongoing motivation and helping hands.”
Although they promised, none of the other players responded to the Island Sun Sports’ requests for comments on their experience in the U23 Caribbean Games.
“This entire experience was just an eye opener for most of us. It was the first time most of us experienced anything like this, playing at this kind of level,” Coach Joy Victor shared with Island Sun Sports. “It was beautiful to see these athletes perform. In basketball, these girls played their hearts out and really wanted to bring home something, they wanted to bring home a W, but Guadeloupe wanted it more in the end. “
Victor said the level the other countries are playing at, they have been playing 3×3 for a long while—especially Puerto Rico. “They came with their plays, they knew exactly where each player would have been and that’s the level I want to see our BVI girls get to. We didn’t have as much time to prepare and get on the same page with the other teams, but to see them come out and play the way they played, was just a sight to see.”