Suriname and St. Maarten are hoping to break their CARIFTA Games medal drought and are expressing confidence in their teams ahead of this year’s meet, which takes place at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex over Easter weekend, April 20-22.

Team Suriname believes that, based on previous CARIFTA results, the team has contenders for at least four medals.

“Tichani Sake is a promising high jumper who is progressing rapidly as is Alicia Grootfaam in the girls’ U-17 shot put,” said an official from the Suriname Athletics Federation. “Marciano Shepper, our U-20 male long jumper, is jumping steadily over 7.00m, Monifah Djoe, our triple jump U-20 girl, jumps over 12.30m and Jair Soekhlal, our triple jump U-17 boy, will be very prominent too.”

Dave Vinisi (U-17 boys’ 800m) and Ronaldinhio Pinas (U-20 boys’ 5,000m) round out the Suriname team, and though very talented, will be up against some stiff competition, the official added.

Suriname last won two medals in 2016, a gold and bronze, and missed out on the medal podium by a few centimetres in 2018 when Monifah Djoe finished fourth in the girls’ triple jump with a jump of 12.11m.

Five athletes will represent St. Maarten at CARIFTA 2019. Leshawn Brown, who will take part in the octathlon and javelin, is the country’s best hope for a medal and Zairo Melfor, a newcomer with lots of talent, could surprise some athletes in the 800m and 1500m, according to team management.

“CARIFTA means the world for our athletes,” the Sint Maarten Amateur Athletic Association said in a statement. “This opens doors to scholarships in the U.K., Canada, USA and Holland and also the possibility of being on the Netherlands National Team for European competitions.”

St. Maarten, like Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Curacao, is an European overseas territory but they are associate members of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), which governs the athletics organisations in the region.

Levi Superville (U-17 1500m, 3000m) is one of eight Cayman athletes who qualified for CARIFTA at the CUC CARIFTA Trials.

St. Maarten’s last medal at a CARIFTA Games was a silver one in 2015. The Association attributes the stall in their performance to political changes and hurricanes which have affected the country but says that though they are struggling, the organisation recognises that the athletes need to continue their development.

Cayman athletes qualify

Cayman recently qualified eight athletes for CARIFTA at the CUC CARIFTA Trials which was held on March 22-23.

Rasheem Brown (U-20 110mh, 100m), Victor Magalhaes (U-20 1500m, 5000m), Levi Superville (U-17 1500m, 3000m), Juan Pablo Valerio (U-17 1500m), Joshua Cox (U-17 400m), Ashantae Graham (U-17 Long Jump), Ariyana Ebanks (U-17 Shot put) and James Crooks (U-17 3000m) are now eligible for selection to the Cayman team.

There will be a final opportunity to qualify on Saturday, April 6, at the newly upgraded track at Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

CARIFTA tickets are now on sale for as low as $10. For more information about CARIFTA Cayman 2019 and to purchase tickets, visit www.caymanCARIFTA2019.ky.

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