T&T shine at NACAC Masters
Cheering loudly and dressed in red, white and black, the Trinidad and Tobago team was hard to miss during the August 9-12 North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Masters Track and Field Championships, in St John, New Brunswick, Canada.
The team of 20 athletes from the small Caribbean nation of 1.3 million people broke six meet records during the four-day international competition.
"It's clear from our results that we have a very strong team," said Jim Clarke, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Masters Athletics.
"It has given us a good indication that our preparations for 2013 are on track," he said, in reference to the World Masters Athletics Championships being held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2013.
The team was among 17 countries and more than 500 athletes that competed at the Canada Games Stadium.
"Back home our national anthem says 'together we aspire, together we achieve' so we are always together and this is the energy we bring to the track," said Clarke.
On top of breaking records in long jump, javelin throw, shot put, and the 5,000-metre run, the team also took home 43 medals, including 30 gold, nine silver and four bronze.
In long jump, Rodney Liverpool jumped to a record of 6.22 metres, beating the previous record by 11 centimetres for the men's 35-to-39 age group, while his older teammate Wendell Williams set a new record in the men's 40-to-59 age group with a 6.54-metre jump.
In javelin throw, Trinidad and Tobago also made a statement by breaking two more records.
Geraldine Francis threw her javelin 40.98 metres in the women's 40-to-44 age group, smashing the record by more than two metres, while Gwendolyn Smith set a new record with a 38.22 metres javelin throw in the women's 45-and-older age group, beating the previous record of 37.95 metres.
"…a little bit off for me probably because of the weather, but I am not worried because my training has been really good this year and I know by next year I am going to be throwing around 40 metres," Smith said, adding that she is training for the World Masters in Brazil.
"I know in Brazil to medal I must throw at least 40 metres so I have to start my training."
In shot put, Joyce Thomas, 66, set a new record in the women's 65-and-older age group with a 9.19-metre throw, beating the previous record of 8.47 metres.
While not her personal best (11.96 metres), she said she was pleased considering the damp conditions.
"I've been in track and field for so long," Thomas said. "I used to run, but as I got older I got into the field events and now I'm actually a level-five coach for shot put, discus and the javelin."
In the men's 5,000-metre race, Jules La Rode set a new record with a time of 16 minutes, 03.56 seconds in the men's 40-and-older age group.