James And Williams Take Back-To-Back Speed Walk Titles

Azeba James (left) 1:53.42 finished first in the men’s division. He collects his prize following Sunday’s grueling 10.2 miles event. (Right) Gilda Williams (left) collects her winnings after clocking 2:14.35 to capture the women’s division. (Photos courtesy Patrick Spencer)
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By Neto Baptiste

For the second time straight time, Azeba James and Gilda Williams outpaced their respective fields in a speed walk competition, capturing top honours in the 10.2-mile Clash of the Titans competition on January 2.

James, who had previously won the men’s division of the 9.5-mile Release the Beast event, held in November last year, returned in fine form on Sunday to register a time of one hour, 53 minutes and 42 seconds (1:53.42) to take top honours in the Clash of the Titans race.

He was followed closely by Sheradie McFoster Harris who registered a time of one hour and 55 minutes (1:55.00) to finish second, while Kiendelle Williams clocked two hours and 13 seconds (2:00.13) in the third slot.

Meanwhile, Williams comfortably out-stepped her competitors to clock two hours, 14 minutes and 35 seconds (2:14.35) to take the top women’s prize. Leslie Henry was second in two hours, 26 minutes and 32 seconds (2:26.32) while Julie Plant registered a time of two hours, 34 minutes and 15 seconds (2:34.15) seconds to win third place honours.

One member of the organising team, Patrick Spencer, hailed the event a success, noting that although there were only 28 participants, interest continues to build where the events are concerned.

“In the first one we had about 34 persons taking part, and in the second one it went up to 58. We did have this one a little quick compared to when we had the last event, so it was kind of soon, but it was done for a reason, so it is very likely that the next event could be around Easter,” he said. 

Spencer, who represented Antigua and Barbuda in cycling at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada said efforts are currently being made to have someone versed in the techniques of Olympic speed walking host sessions with participants.

“We are going to have someone who is very familiar with the technique, and most likely it would be on a Sunday afternoon or based on the person’s schedule, but we will give more information on that as time rolls on, so for the next event, you are going to find some persons doing the technique while others may just do the normal walking, but we are building towards the technique or speed walking so that when we put a team out there to go to the world championships we are going to be putting our best,” he said. 

The businessman also thanked who he said are the group’s die-hard supporters from a sponsorship standpoint.

“Kenneth A Gomez & Sons, Crab Hole Liquors and Mega Distributors have been our major sponsors for all three events. There is Spencer’s Service Center also and PIC Insurance came on board, so we are very thankful. We must thank the media, the traffic department, Gunthorpes Spring Water which is the official water for speed walking in Antigua and Barbuda. Members of teams Just Five and Team 5 AM because they were all there and they played their part,” Spencer said.

A total of 28 walkers took part in Sunday’s event which started at Mega Distributors on American Road and ended at Royal Palm Court on Friars Hill Road.

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