Jamaica run away with another CARIFTA title

Javon Francis ran a brilliantly timed anchor leg on the Under-20 boys’ 4x400m finals, but news filtering out was that the team had been disqualified soon afterwards, and the Jamaican management team had fired off a protest immediately.

It was not clear up to press time what the infringement was with several different causes been mooted.

The team had run what was thought to be a new meet record 3:05.68 as Jamaican athletes won three of the four mile relays, adding another 23 medals to the 50 they had won coming into the day.

However, there are still some questions about the final medal count, as the official number on the event website kept changing over the last two days of the championships.

Yesterday morning the official website published a medal standing that showed Jamaica with 50 medals — 20 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze — well ahead of their hosts, who had 21 medals, with Barbados further back with 11 and Trinidad on 10, the only countries in double digits.

The numbers were, however, changed midway the third and final day with a disclaimer saying “events which may be excluded from this count did not meet the CARIFTA standard of having a minimum of five athletes from three different countries”.

That was far from the minds of the athletes yesterday, however, as after taking the baton from a tired Jevaughn Minzie, behind the Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamas athletes, Francis, the IAAF World Junior Championships 400m finalist, passed both in the first 150 metres then strode away majestically to end the three championships in a blaze of glory.

They beat the previous record of 3:07.10 held by another Jamaican quartet.

Yanique McNeil, Simoya Campbell, Shericka Jackson, and Chriss-Ann Gordon ran away with the Under-20 girls’ title, winning in 3:34.26, beating Barbados and Bahamas.

The Under-17 girls started the tide winning in 3:44.13 with the team of Shannon Kalawan, Tiffany James the individual 400m winner, Patrice Moodie, and Asshani Robb on anchor.

With makeshift 400m runner Jauavney James, the 1550m/300m champion, asked to anchor the team, the boys’ Under-17 faded to third place, beaten by the Bahamas and Barbados.

Jamaica’s march to the 29th hold on the title had continued earlier in the day during the finals of the 200m, 800m and sprint hurdles as the medal count continued to pile up.

Natalliah Whyte and Martin Manley won their Under-17 200m races to cop their second individual gold medals each.

Whyte, who won the girls’ 100m race on Saturday, dominated yesterday’s 200m, speeding to 23.65 seconds, pushed by a 2.1 metres per second wind just over the legal limit, beating The Bahamas’s Jenae Ambrose-24.04 seconds and Guyana’s Tirana Mitchell.

Manley, who had won the 400m gold, ran past two athletes in the last 10 metres to snatch the gold in 21.35 seconds (2.3m/s wind), edging out Mario Burke of Barbados, who was third last year, and Jamaica’s Jaheel Hydle, who got the bronze less than 90 minutes after he won the 110m hurdles gold.

Shericka Jackson ran a brilliant personal best 22.84 seconds, but was denied by Bahamas’s Shauna Miller’s 22.77 seconds, both under the old meeting record of 22.85 seconds set last year by Anthonique Stratchan with a second Bahamian Carmeisha Cox taking third.

Minzie led late in the Under-20 boys’ race after teammate Odail Todd pulled up as they came off the curve but was caught by the fast-finishing Bahamian Teray Smith who won with 20.58 seconds (3.4 seconds) out of lane eight.

Minzie took second with 20.64 seconds as Trinidad’s Jereem Richards was third.

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