Trinidad and Tobago closed off Carifta 2022 with two relay medals at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, on Monday night.
Rinaldo Moore, Shakeem McKay, Keone John and Cyril Sumner combined in the final event -- the boys' Under-20 4x400 metres -- for silver in three minutes, 09.67 seconds. Jamaica clocked 3:08.94 to capture gold, with bronze going to Barbados in 3:10.71.
T&T ended the Carifta Games with 23 medals - two gold, 11 silver, ten bronze. The performance was good enough for fourth on the medal table. "Solid," T&T manager Durly Lucas declared in an Express interview, yesterday.
"Very, very solid show. I'm satisfied with the performance. The focus ahead of the Games would have been on doing their best, taking away the focus on winning which would have put more pressure on the athletes. The camaraderie and relaxed atmosphere helped as well."
Lucas said that in light of all the Covid-related challenges faced by T&T athletes during the past two years, the 23-medal haul is commendable.
"It's not only 23 medals. There was a high percentage of personal bests done by the athletes, and that's very significant. This is definitely a performance on which a national programme can be built."
Jamaica dominated Carifta 2022, the host nation topping the table with 45 gold medals, 29 silver and 18 bronze. Bahamas finished second with four gold medals, six silver and seven bronze. Third spot went to British Virgin Islands (BVI) -- four gold medals, two silver and one bronze.
Three of the BVI gold medals were won by Adaejah Hodge. The rising star topped the Girls Under-17 100m, 200m and long jump events. During the closing ceremony, Hodge was presented with the Austin Sealy Award as the most outstanding athlete at Carifta 2022.
Also outstanding were T&T athletes Kyle Williams, Dylan Woodruffe, Daeshaun Cole and Kaiyin Morris. They teamed up for silver in Monday night's boys' Under-17 4x400m relay in 3:18.89. Jamaica (3:17.85) and Bahamas (3:21.35) secured gold and bronze, respectively.
Cole battled hard on the third leg, running shoulder to shoulder with his Jamaican rival before moving to the front. At the final handover, T&T and Jamaica were on level terms. Morris gave his all, but the Jamaican anchor eventually pulled away from him, and T&T had to settle for silver.
Similarly, Moore, McKay, John and Sumner forced the Jamaicans to work overtime for their boys' Under-20 4x4 victory. John, on the third leg, went to the front of the race. He surrendered that lead to Jamaica halfway down the home straight, handing the baton to Sumner just a couple strides behind. Anchorman Sumner kept T&T in the hunt for gold up until the final straight.
Both T&T 4x4 teams paid tribute to Deon Lendore, imitating the deceased quarter-miler's trademark archer celebration ahead of their respective races.
Before the 4x4 relays, Tafari Waldron captured bronze for T&T in the boys' Under-20 5,000m in 16 minutes, 35.73 seconds. Bahamian Curtis Mitchell was golden with a 16:07.57 run, while silver went to Jamaica's Nicholas Power in 16:08.93.
Shaniqua Bascombe was T&T's most prolific athlete at Carifta 2022. The 18-year-old sprinter earned three medals -- girls' Under-20 200m silver, 100m bronze and 4x100m bronze. Bascombe clocked 24.18 seconds in Monday's half-lap final. Her teammate, Kyah La Fortune was seventh in 25.34. On Sunday, Kayla Caesar, Bascombe, Karissa Kirton and La Fortune combined for sprint relay bronze.
Khareem Solomon, Woodruffe, Tyrell Springer and Jamario Russell teamed up for boys' Under-17 4x1 silver. Kaziah Peters, Janae De Gannes, Jenna Marie Thomas and Alexxe Henry earned Girls Under-17 sprint relay bronze. And in the Boys Under-20 4x1, Anthony Diaz, Miguel Taylor, Jaden De Souza and Revell Webster finished eighth.
T&T had four multiple medallists at Carifta 2022. Bascombe topped the list with her three medals, while Keeran Sriskandarajah, Morris and Woodruffe earned two each. Sriskandarajah captured gold in the Boys Under-17 1500m and silver in the 800. Morris claimed Boys Under-17 400m bronze and 4x4 silver. And Woodruffe bagged Boys Under-17 4x1 and 4x4 silver.
Lucas commended team captains Bascombe and McKay. "They would have played a significant role in terms of the first-timers and some of their performances on the weekend. Bascombe and McKay helped the younger ones overcome nerves, talking to them and getting them to perform at their best. They rose to the challenge of being leaders."
The T&T manager was also high in praise for Sriskandarajah and the other T&T gold medallist, Aaron Antoine. A national junior record clearance of 2.16 metres earned Antoine gold in the Boys Under-20 high jump. "Aaron's personal best in the high jump, and Keeran timing his 1500 race properly. Two fantastic events!
"And to those who got silver, not getting the gold medal was not because of a lack of effort. They gave their best, and the winners just turned out to be better on the day. Our athletes gave heart and soul."