Young Athletes Radiate Confidence Ahead Of Carifta Games

Dwayne Fleming. LaNica Locker. Naomi McDonald. Kasiya Daley
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By Neto Baptiste

Members of the Antigua and Barbuda track and field Carifta team are exuding confidence ahead of this weekend’s games in the Bahamas.

One such athlete is last year’s under-17 gold medallist in the 100 meters, Dwayne Fleming, who will compete in the boys’ under-20 category this year.

Fleming, who will run in both the 100 and 200 meters, is looking forward to what he said will be a new challenge.

“I am feeling good about myself because if I look back from last year to now then I am way ahead, so I know what I am capable of doing. The preparation is going good so far and I am running really good in practice. I am not feeling under pressure because, going down to this year’s Carifta Games, the plan is just to make the finals and once I can make the finals at age 16 then next year I can look to challenge for a medal. This year is just for me to go through the rounds and to make it to the finals and once I can own the eight lanes in the finals then I’ll be good,” the Princess Margaret School (PMS) student said. 

Fleming clocked 10.72 seconds to finish ahead of the field in the 2022 final held in Jamaica.

Carifta first-timer LaNica Locker, who attends Ottos Comprehensive School, expressed confidence in the preparation process ahead of the games.

“I was the first one to qualify and it was hard to wrap my mind around it as well, but I stay humbled and continue training hard. I have training partners as well in Dwayne and Kasiya … they’re boys so they’re faster than girls and I have to keep up with them; they don’t hold up and it has gotten me really far,” she said. 

Locker will compete in the under-20 girls’ 100, 200 and the 4×100 meters relay

Meanwhile, another first-timer Naomi McDonald, who will fly the country’s flag in the shot-put, credited her father for inspiring her to try out for the event after hearing a call for more athletes on the Good morning Jojo Sports Show last year.

“Last year, you were having the show and Mrs [Heather Samuel-Daley] said they didn’t really have any throwers, so my dad told me I should try shot-put. I decided to give it a shot so I did it at sports day and then at Inter-schools. I won and then after nationals I started taking it serious and I started training,” the Jennings Secondary School student said. 

Sprinter Kasiya Daley, who will compete in the under-17 boys’ category, said a number of individuals played pivotal roles in his successful this season.

“I would also like to thank Father God for getting me through the workouts; they were very hard workouts. My coaches, Mrs Heather Samuel-Daley and Mr Ted Daley, my parents and especially my father for getting me to training sessions, getting me necessary gear and also my friends and family,” the PMS student said.

The first time Carifta athlete will compete in the 100, 200 and the 4×100 meters relay.

The team, coached by Kesswin Anthony, Jamille Nelson (assistant coach) and Sonia Williams (assistant coach/female chaperone), departs for the Bahamas on Thursday.

Squad: U-17 Girls: Naomi McDonald (shot put), Gerlin Barnes (long jump); U-17 Boys: Kasiya Daley (100,200,4×100), Cleon Joseph (100, 200, 4×100), 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).

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