By Neto Baptiste
Last year’s Carifta gold medalist in the under-17 boys’ 100 meters event, Dwayne Fleming, bronze medalist in the 400 meters hurdles Craig Pendergast, and defending bronze medalist in the girls’ under-20 triple-jump Alyssa Dyett, have all been included in a 15-member Antigua and Barbuda track and field team for this year’s Carifta Games in the Bahamas.
The team’s selection follows the Carifta trials held by the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) over the weekend.
Head coach Kesswin Anthony said Fleming, who did not meet the qualifying marks of 10.58 in the 100 and 21.71 in the 200, was selected based on a number of factors.
“He did not hit the under-20 standard, but he has been steadily improving so far for the season. His season’s best is 21.88 in the 200 and 10.82 in the 100. He didn’t qualify last year, and he went there and won gold, and based on that we decided to give him some consideration being the defending champion, and based on the fact he has been steadily improving,” he said.
“We also have Craig Pendergast, the defending bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles, and Alyssa Dyett, the defending bronze medalist in the girls’ triple jump under-20,” he added.
Anthony also highlighted the addition of LaNica Locker and Geolyna Dowdye, both under-20 girls and Malique Francis in the javelin.
“In the under-20 for the first time, we’re taking two girls running 11.7 seconds and 23 seconds and when you look at the makeup of the other teams in the region, only Jamaica and the Bahamas have two girls in that age category, the under-20, running that sort of time,” the coach said.
“In the javelin, we have Malique Francis who has thrown a distance of 51.16 meters in the under-17 category, and he did not qualify because the standard is 52 meters, but he was given consideration based on his throw that would have landed him a silver medal in the under-17 category last year. He is still in the under-17 category for next year so we decided to give him a chance to test the waters and get the experience to see what it is like,” he added.
The coach said he also has high hopes for the athletes competing in the under-17 category.
“In the under-17 category we have at least two athletes that could possibly win gold in that event in Kasiya Daley in the 100 and the 200, which was faster than the winning time was last year in both of those events. We have Naomi McDonald [shot put] where her throw would have been a silver medal position in the under-17 category,” he said.
The Carifta Games are slated for April 8-10.
Squad: U-17 Girls: Naomi McDonald (shot put), Gerlin Barnes (long jump); U-17 Boys: Kasiya Daley (100,200,4X100), Cleon Joseph (100, 200, 4X100), Juda Ash (4X100),Rhyce Joseph (4X100) Malique Francis (javelin): U-20 Girls: LaNica Locker (100, 200, 4X100), Geolyna Dowdye (100, 200, 4X100), Alyssa Dyett (triple jump, 4X100), Janisha Spencer: U-20 Boys: Craig Pendergast (400 hurdles), Ajani Daley (100, 200), Dwayne Fleming (100, 200), Kiron O’Garro (400).
Officials: Kesswin Anthony (head coach), Jamille Nelson (assistant coach), Sonia Williams (assistant coach/female chaperone)