Focused Owen seeks CARIFTA double

The nerves are starting to fray
with only three weeks to go before the CARIFTA Games track and field

The fact that they are being held
here adds an extra edge to the anxiety.

The Truman Bodden Sports Complex
will be packed with hundreds of competitors and thousands of onlookers over the
Easter weekend, 3-5 April.

One Caymanian relishing the
occasion though is Anissa Owen, who at 18 gets her last opportunity to get a
coveted CARIFTA medal, in the shot put and long jump.

Owen first competed in the CARIFTAs
three years ago and feels confident that her final attempt will be fruitful.

She said last week at a development
meet: “I’ve got high expectations in both events because I actually surprised
myself in the shot this morning.

“I threw 11.43 metres and feel I
have more in me, more potential. I just need to keep training and focused and
hopefully everything will go well in both events. I feel that high five metres
or around six metres will get a medal in the long jump.

“I know that I have to keep focused
on what I’m doing and not let the competition scare me. Believe in God and
everything should go well.

“It’s not any pressure for me that
we’re competing at home. It’s kind of exciting, in fact, knowing that we will
get a lot more support than normal. It’s more boosting showing my home crowd
what I’ve been doing all these years.”

A useful runner too, Owen competes
in the sprints, 400 metres and even the occasional road run as well.

Sprinter Edmund Swaby, 16, did
track years ago and was inspired to make a ‘comeback’ for these championships.

“I’m going to try my hardest and
see how I’ll do,” he said. “I think I can do really well if I concentrate on
it. In long jump too.”

He wasn’t quite fast enough to make
the team, which is not surprising because he didn’t start training seriously
until a month ago. But at least he has the raw talent to maybe make it next year.

Another good sprinter who could
make the CARIFTA team in the future is Phillip Ritch, 17, who won the Under-20
boys 100 metres. “I think I could get a lot better,” he said.

Ritch lives in Bodden Town and used
to play football seriously with the other talented youngsters from that area
but prefers sprinting “which is less tiring”.