By Neto Baptiste
A seven-member team made up of three girls and four boys will fly the country’s flag at this year’s Carifta Games slated for April 16-18 in Jamaica.
The team, which was announced by the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), consists of the lone outright qualifier, Alyssa Dyett, who will compete in the under-20 girls’ triple jump. Dyett, in February, leaped a distance of 12.12 meters to eclipse the qualifying mark of 12:10 meters set by the association.
Also included is young male sprinter Ajarni Daley whose 10.55 seconds in the 100 meters during the association’s Carifta trials over the weekend qualified him for World Juniors. He however missed the Carifta mark of 10.50 seconds.
One member of the association’s selection panel, Kesswin Anthony, explained some of the things they took into consideration when selecting the team.
“The first thing we look at was those who were close to the standard like, for example, in the boys’ under-20 we had the standard at 10.50 and Ajarni did a 10.55 and then came back in half hour or 45 minutes later and did a 10.57. We have never had anyone, in the under-20 category, coming that close to the standard. Based on that, we think he would be a good prospect to lead the charge in the sprints,” he said.
“Dwayne Flemming also, his 200 meters standard was 21.70 and he did a time of 21.73. [So] based on that we figured also that he would be very competitive in that event,” he added.
The association has come under recent criticism by members who argue that the local qualifying standards are too high. Anthony agreed but sought to rationalise the move.
“It is actually high but when we look at the athletes that we actually have, we try to make sure we are walking with a competitive team. We don’t have the luxury like Jamaica where you’d have three or four athletes running a 10.3 or a 20.5, so we set our standards based on trying to get our athletes to be competitive against them when we get there,” he said.
Anthony, who is also a coach, said the association’s executive will meet next week to select a coaching and management staff.
“The executive will meet next week to select the officials that will be travelling with the team but we thought it was fitting to select this team because the meet is three weeks away — maybe two and a-half weeks. So, we needed to let the athletes know who they are so they could continue their preparations for the games. The deadline for the final entry is on April 1 so at our next scheduled executive meeting next week we will select the officials who will be accompanying the team,” he said.
Full Carifta Squad: Geolyna Dowdy (U-17 Girls 100M/200M), Dwayne Flemming (U-17 Boys 100/200M), Osei Gardener (U-20 Boys 200/400M), Alyssa Dyett (U-20 Girls Triple Jump), Mia McIntosh (U-20 Girls Heptathlon), Ajani Daley (U-20 Boys 100/200M) and Craig Pendergrast (U-20 Boys 400M Hurdles).