Though Ashleigh Nalty is only 14, she has already earned quite a reputation in the sporting arena – locally and internationally.
On the local front, Nalty has won the high jump in nearly all track meets, including sports day and the Truman Bodden Track Meet.
Internationally, she competed at the 2006 Junior Olympics at Norfolk State University in Virginia, where she won a silver medal in high jump. She secured a silver (high jump) and a gold medal (400 metres) at the CAC Games in the Dominican Republic in 2004.
She collected high jump silver last year in El Salvador and was also named Youth Athlete of the Year. And those are just the meets that she lists as her greatest achievements. That does not include the vast number of events that she has attended, including Carifta Games and Baytaf meets. And Nalty is not limiting her scope to track and field alone; she’s also involved in football, basketball and netball.
So it is easy to see why Sports Department Women’s Sports Coordinator Merta Day selected her as one of the women to profile for Honoring Women’s Month, on the basis of her accomplishments alone.
However, young Nalty is looking beyond sports. She said: ‘My goal right now is to continue to excel in track and field and possibly win a scholarship. I will also pursue my academic studies, because my second choice after a career in track would be to become an attorney-at-law.’
Is Nalty extraordinarily disciplined for a teenager, or is she just naturally gifted? ‘While I believe that I am a bit of a natural athlete, as a backup I still train five days a week.
‘I prefer track and field – for one thing, I’m naturally good at it, and secondly I really love the sport. I think that training for track gives me an advantage because of its extreme physicality, in that it involves running, jumping and throwing, which are the requirements most other sports.’
But why did she gravitate towards sports in the first place? ‘Being involved in sports has given me the ability to keep my mind and body healthy and increased my ability to focus and concentrate, not only for sports, but academically and spiritually as well,’ she noted.
She says that everyone needs a role model, and hers is her dad, Michael, who has supported her 100 percent.
Nalty was competing at the Carifta Games in St Kitts over the weekend. Cayman Islands had a good first day at the XXXVIII Carifta Games at Bird Rock Stadium in Basseterre.
On Saturday, at the Travis Webb Bronze medal in the Under 17 Boys High Jump was the lone medal collected by the team but Shane Evans (Under 20 Boys Discus) and Chantelle Morrison (Under 17 Girls 100m) both made it to the Finals of their respective events with Evans finishing fifth and Morrison in sixth position.
Avril Myers (Under 17 Girls Shot Put) and Jahzenia Thomas (Under 20 Girls Long Jump) also competed. Myers’ first two throws were ruled foul and this seemed to have upset her and a final throw of 9.80m was insufficient to take her into the final grouping. Thomas showed good speed on the runway but her best leap of 5.16 metres was not good enough to take her into the final eight.
Nalty is totally focused Photo: Ron Shillingford