The CARIFTA Games were a great time
for young athletes and the countries they represented. All did well on Cayman
soil and seemed pleased with Cayman’s efforts as host.
However some of the visiting media
also went away with a positive impression of Cayman during the games.
Among them were three Trinidadian
journalists in Rachael Thompson-King, Clayton Clarke and Wellington Wilson.
Thompson-King represents the
Trinidadian Guardian newspaper, Clarke was freelancing for I95.5FM and Wilson
freelanced for the National Association of Athletic Administration of Trinidad
All were in Cayman for the first
time and, as Thompson-King explains, all were captivated by the island’s sports
culture and Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
“It’s really nice here and the
beaches are beautiful,” Thompson-King said. “The stadium is nice and it’s good
seeing the people come to support the Games. With Cayman hosting the Games the
athletes will get better.”
Like the other reporters
Thompson-King paid particular attention covering the Trinidadian athletes. By
Monday evening she would see her country place second overall.
Trinidad walked away with 12 gold medals, 16 silvers and 12 bronze for a
total of 40 medals. Jamaica
(37 gold, 22 silvers and 13 bronze) came first with 72 medals and the Bahamas (six
gold, 10 silvers and 13 bronze) were a distant third with 29 medals.
On the surface that might seem like
a surprisingly good showing but Thompson-King is quick to point out it is not.
“”I’m not really surprised with the
performance of the Trini athletes,” she said. “The government that is in power
is investing heavily in them and the Trinis that are here are no strangers to
Among those star athletes were
Jehue Gordon (who won the U20 Boys 110m and 400m hurdles) and Darvin Sandy
claimed silver in the U17 Boys 400m.
Wilson, 43, gave
some additional names of top-performing Trinidadians.
“Most of our athletes did well and
I’m really not surprised. Then again there were some notably good showings.
Kernesha Span won the U17 Girls 300m hurdles in 42.16s after training for only
two months before the Games.
“Jehue Gordon has done well the
last two or three years now. In addition to winning here he came fourth in the
last world championships.
“I loved Michelle-Lee Ahye, who won
the Girls U20 100m, because she was really quick. For a long time she struggled
with injuries and CARIFTA got a good taste of her.
“Finally Carisa Leacock won silver
in the Girls U20 Long Jump and that was really good. She didn’t jump to her
full potential though as I feel she could have went 6.4 metres or more.”
Clarke, in addition to his media
work, is a track and field coach back in Trinidad
and has covered the CARIFTA Games since 2007. In his mind Cayman should be
proud of its work hosting these games.
“I really liked this version of the
Games and the stadium you all have here,” Clarke said. “I love the interest
taken in these Games and it seemed well organized. I give props to the local
organizing body. They have been very accommodating to the needs of the media.”