Nalty bounced back

She froze at the CARIFTA Games in
front of her home crowd and did not even get past a relatively easy opening
round height. But Ashleigh Nalty made amends last month when at the Junior
Central American and Caribbean Championships, she took bronze in a extremely competitive
Under-17 high jump competition.

At the CARITA Games at the Truman
Bodden Sports Complex over the Easter weekend, the pressure of great
expectation took its toll and Nalty failed miserably. She just could not get
her form right. Yet in Santo Domingo she sailed over and eventually recorded a
jump of 1 metre, 69 centimetres for that treasured bronze. The other medallists
were way ahead: both finished on 1.81m with Barbados sensation Akela Jones, 14,
taking gold and Dominican Republic’s Catherine Nina grabbing silver.

Nevertheless, it was a huge
confidence builder for Nalty, 16, who is also a long jumper. Her dad Michael
said: “I was pleased for Ashleigh. There was a lot of pressure on her at the
CARIFTAs and she was really disappointed. But she really bounced back at the
Junior CACs.”

It wasn’t a personal record, Nalty
has jumped 1.72m, but at least this time she conquered her nerves. “I felt
great,” she said. “All my hard work finally paid off. I expected to get a medal
this time because I really wanted to shine. I was pretty confident because I
knew the opposition from the CARIFTAs.”

Nalty went off to New York on
holiday on Wednesday and will return to compete in the Miss Teen Cayman pageant
at the end of August. Then it’s back to serious training in preparation for
next year’s competitions when she hopes to close the gap on Jones and Nina.

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