Machel Cedenio and Jonathan Farinha will fly the flag for Trinidad and Tobago on the opening day of the Carifta Games, in Fort de France, Martinique, today. Cedenio will bid to retain his boys’ under-20 400 metres title, while Farinha battles for honours in the boys’ under-20 100m dash.
Reigning century champion Zharnel Hughes clocked 10.12 seconds to strike gold at the Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, in Jamaica last month. However, the Anguillan hurt his hamstring and opted out of the 200m final.
Farinha, who clocked a wind-assisted 10.18 at Carifta trials, is sure to be a contender for precious metal in today’s boys’ under-20 100m event. Hughes, though, if fit to compete, will undoubtedly be the favourite for gold. But, as National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette noted, medals are earned on the day of the event.
“If somebody runs a time in Boys’ Champs, they need to come and run that time in Martinique because we all start over at zero. So you don’t go in with this fear that somebody would have done 10.1 or 20-point or whatever. ‘’Based on the results coming out of the trials we had and the other events--even up to last weekend at Falcon Games-- I think the athletes are well prepared. We should see a better showing of the team.’’
At Carifta 2013, in Bahamas, T&T earned eight gold medals, two silver and ten bronze to finish third.
‘’This is the largest team we’re taking outside of Trinidad and Tobago,’’ said Serrette. ‘’We started off with 69. We’re now at 67. Two athletes got injured.’’
Serrette added that on Tuesday, Jehue Gordon, T&T’s reigning world champion in the men’s 400m hurdles, gave the Carifta team a motivational speech. ‘’He held court with the young athletes. And I remember his last words: ‘You need to bleed red, white and black’’’.
Chelsea James will bid for a hat-trick of titles today when she competes in the girls’ under-18 shot put. Also wearing T&T colours will be middle-distance runner Nicholas Landeau. The England-based athlete bids for honours in the boys’ under-20 1500m.
Among the other standouts on the T&T team are defending boys’ under-20 5,000m champion Akeem Marshall, 2013 girls’ under-17 300m hurdles gold medallist Jeminise Parris, two-time boys’ under-17 long jump champion Andwuelle Wright, and thrower Shakeil Waithe. At the Carifta trials, Waithe produced a big 72.15 metres throw to win the boys’ under-20 javelin.