French territories Martinique and French Guiana have high hopes ahead of the 48th annual CARIFTA Games, scheduled for Easter weekend (April 20 to 22) at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Martinique took home four medals in 2018 and French Guiana earned one.
Martinique is hoping to bring 24 athletes to this year’s Games. Baptiste Thiery, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games pole vault champion, is expected to lead the team. Thiery is also the CARIFTA Games U-20 pole vault record holder, having cleared 5.05m to win gold in 2018. Thamera Manette, last year’s winner of the U-17 girls’ shot put with 14.51, will take part in the U-20 division this year. She recently won the National French Indoor title. William Cadenat, who was 6th in last year’s U-20 boys shot put final, is in better form this year, and recently won the French Indoor title.
Aymeric Priam, 2019 National French Indoor 60m winner, is the other top athlete hoping to add to the medal column for the Martinique team.
Officials from the athletics association are confident that the team is good enough to take home five medals in April after what they describe as a slump in performance over the past few years. In 2018, the country won one gold and three bronze medals.
French Guiana is likely to bring close to a dozen athletes for CARIFTA Cayman and are hoping for three medals. Gémima Joseph, Daïna Gerson and Déborah Giffard are expected to lead the country’s hunt for medals.
Joseph, the U-20 girls’ 200m silver medal winner in 2018, returns with eyes on a brighter colour medal, according to her team management. She was 7th in the 100m and will try for a sweeter outcome. Gerson, 4th in the U-17 triple jump in 2018, hopes for a better result in the upper class this time around while Giffard, who false started in the heats last time, will be looking for a medal in the U-20 girls’ 100m. French Guiana has only managed one silver medal in each of the last two CARIFTA Games but are positive they will progress in 2019.
“CARIFTA is an excellent learning experience in our athletes’ stride toward elite status because they are confronting other athletes of the same age and from their geographic region in a friendly rivalry,” a team management official said. “It’s a very important part of our track and field calendar as it allows them to prepare for the greater events carded for the rest of the season, both national and international.”
CARIFTA tickets are now on sale from $10.
For more information about CARIFTA Cayman 2019 and to purchase tickets, visit www.caymanCARIFTA2019.ky.