Home : news : articles : 2022 : 04 :

Comissiong applauds T&T Carifta athletes
T&T's 2022 Carifta Games High jumper Tennique Vincent, who won a silver medals in the Girls Under-17 age group. - PAUL VOISIN

Comissiong applauds T&T Carifta athletes

Go Back : Guardian : Rachael Thompson-King : 21.04.2022

President of the National Association of Athletics Administration of T&T (NAAATT), George Comissiong, is celebrating the performance of the T&T team at the recently concluded 49th Carifta Games in Jamaica.

"I am generally pleased with the team's performance given the challenges we faced over the last two years," said Comissiong, yesterday. "Some may argue that all countries and by extension all athletes faced similar challenges but that is not quite true. On our part, there were restrictions at the various training venues. We would also have had fewer meets than normal and therefore, less opportunities for the athletes to prepare."

The region's premier youth track and field event suffered back-to-back cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 event was set to take place in Bermuda but was then postponed to 2021 before being cancelled due to ongoing coronavirus-related concerns.

Despite the challenges, 56 local athletes made the trip to Kingston and emerged with 23 medals - two gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze to place fourth on the medal table. The dominant Jamaican team, who won 92 medals which included 45 gold, 29 silver and 18 bronze, sealed the first place, followed by the Bahamas with 17 (4 gold, 6 silver, 7 bronze) and the British Virgin Islands with seven (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), respectively.

"The medal standing is based primarily on gold medals won, we accept our fourth-place ranking but in terms of total medals won, we would be in second place," said Comissiong.

High jumper Aaron Antoine and middle-distance runner Keeran Sriskandarajah striking gold for T&T on the opening day of the Easter weekend meet at the National Stadium in Kingston, was definitely high for the NAAATT head.

He said: "The gold medal performances by Aaron Antoine and Keeran Sriskandarajah obviously stand out, especially in events in which we are not usually strong. The relays were also very exciting."

Sriskandarajah won T&T's first gold medal when he topped the boys' Under-17 1,500 metres event with a time of four minutes and 10.58 seconds (4:10.58). Later, Antoine reached the top of the podium in the boys' U-20 high jump. He surpassed the 2.16m height on his third attempt to upstage Jamaican Brandon Pottinger, who could only clear the bar at the 2.14m mark.

Sriskandarajah also picked up a silver medal in the boys' U-17 800m with a 1:58.45-timing. T&T claimed five relay medals - three silver and two bronze. The boys' U-20 and U-17 4x400m teams along with the boys' 4x100m quartet finished second in their respective finals while the girls' U-20 and U-17 4x100 teams placed third in their medal races.

"Several of our athletes rose to the occasion and delivered when it mattered," said Comissiong, who despite being proud of the effort of the national athletics team, knows that there is more work to be done.

"As president of NAAATT, I commend all the athletes on their performances. We have quite a bit to celebrate and we should. However, we also need to do the critical review required and to develop strategies and programmes to ensure that we do not lose momentum but continue to build on what we have."