By Neto Baptiste
Jamille Nelson, coach of the country’s four-member team to the NACAC (North American Central America & the Caribbean) Under-23 Track & Field Championships held in Costa Rica over the weekend, has commended the three-man, one-woman team for claiming a total of four medals at the international event.
There were silver medals for triple jumper Taeco O’Garro and men’s sprinter Ajani Daley while Olympics bound female sprinter Joella Lloyd captured bonze on Friday’s opening day of the championships. Lloyd then returned on Sunday to win silver in the 200 event in a time of 23.55 seconds.
“Ajani had personal best in both his events in terms of the 100 and the 200, so there is definitely not much more you could ask for there because you can’t get better than your best. With Joella, she may not have performed as usual and especially in the 100 but she was having some complications from the night before when she woke up with pain in her toes the night before. She did fight through that and then it got fixed and she came back today [Sunday] in the 200,” he said.
“Taeco, in his pet event, did exactly what he was expected to do in the triple jump. He is not much known as a long jumper but he was just outside of the medals in the long jump and with Darion, I can say that it was just a fast race,” he added.
Darion Skerrit, the other member of the team, finished fifth in the under-23 men’s 200 meters events, clocking a time of 21.57 seconds.
Nelson was particularly happy that Lloyd, who is preparing to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23, was able to get some much-needed competition under her belt.
“It basically would have been her last meet to prep for the big one in Tokyo. This time [at NACAC] she would have been running with her peers as opposed to last week where she would have been running with the seniors, but I think it was well needed, in terms of a chance to get something done on the track. It didn’t quite work out as expected but we can appreciate that it has been a long season so with the rest she would be getting now and then going on to train coming towards Tokyo with the 100 being towards the end of the month, I can definitely say she would be ready for it,” he said.
Also on Sunday, Daley just missed out on a bronze medal in the under-20 men’s 200, clocking 21.75 second to finish loosely behind third placed Shima Bain of the Bahamas who was third in 21.65 seconds. There was tough luck for O’Garro as well on Sunday as he finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 7.01 meters.
The team is expected to return to Antigua on Tuesday but will be without Lloyd who will stop in Miami before preparing to travel to Tokyo.