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De Gannes gets her Carifta Games wish
FLASHBACK 2021: Concorde's Janae De Gannes in action during the girls Under-17 long jump at the NAAA series on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. De Gannes won with a 5.66m-leap. - Anthony Harris

De Gannes gets her Carifta Games wish

Go Back : Guardian : Sports Desk : 06.04.2022

Sprinter/jumper Janae De Gannes will represent T&T at the 49th Carifta Games.

This was confirmed by National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA) president George Comissiong, yesterday. The premier youth track and field event is set to unfold in Jamaica over the Easter weekend (April 16-18).

"We recently had the addition of Janae De Gannes because it was the issue with respect to vaccination and the NACAC's (North American, Central American and Caribbean) position. That has since been rescinded. Janae is on the team and we are seeking to include a U-17 girls relay team now that Janae is there," said Comissiong, "The team will be expanded to one or two athletes over the next few days and should make it a little more than the 44/45 that we have now but I'm excited."

De Gannes of Concorde qualified for three individual events in the girls' U-17 category (100m, 200m, long jump) but then, due to her vaccination status and NACAC's position, was not been listed on the team announced some two weeks ago.

Her return has boosted the team and Comissiong is expecting good things from the competitive team, although not as large as in previous years.

He said: "I believe we have a very strong team in some ways, speaking for myself, I was pleasantly surprised, there are some athletes who, from day one the very first development meet we would have had they would have attained the Carifta standard and they went on to repeat it at successive meets so one would have expected coming out of a two years people may have been sluggish and so on.

"In terms of the U-20 age group, they were already looking at Carifta, Pan Am and World Athletics U-20 Championships. A few of these athletes would have already attained the standard for all three which augurs very well given this early in the season."

Two such athletes are Revel Webster of Concorde and Abilene Wildcats' Shakeem McKay, who shined at the recent Carifta Trails hosted by the NAAAs at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain.

Webster, who will represent T&T in the boys' Under-20 100 metres and 4x100m relay, is proud of the time he ran in the 100m, 10.52, but is aiming to lower that time to 10.25.

"My mindset right now is about execution, to gain as much experience no matter the outcome, but mainly is to gold medal or break a record or two," he said and on the relay team, he added: "We have a very, very good chance in this 4x100. My teammates are very well trained and equipped to handle these kinds of situations. They have experience also so I'm very confident that we can achieve a gold in this."

Mckay, meanwhile, will feature in the boys' U-20 200m, and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

He stuck to his race strategy at the Trials which is why he was able to achieve success in the half-lap event

"To be honest it was something that was planned for so once I accomplished it I was just grateful and thankful to accomplish that task and just head back to the drawing board," said the 19-year-old.

"Right now my mindset is just to go out there do my best, hopefully, stay injury-free, and just represent and show the people the world what T&T have to offer.

"I am accustomed to competing regionally and internationally so my stop right now is to do what's missing from what I've set for myself what I am missing is a medal and I hope to bring back the gold medal."

Head coach Ronald Porter Lee had his first official training session with the national and is optimistic about the prospects for the local athletes in Jamaica.

He said, "We are trying to gel them together seeing that we had a short time especially the relays and our feeling is that we would be competitive and we will try our best to secure as many podium places as possible. We got most of the athletes that have been selected have achieved the standards as outlined by the NAAAs for the Carifta 2022 so with that in mind, we hope that they would attain or better these times or distances in Jamaica so that we can achieve some podium finishes," said Porter Lee.

He sees the resumption of the Carifta Games, which were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing several under 20 athletes to miss out over the past two years, as a plus.

"This is very important for us to be able to rebuild and re-establish ourselves as one of the leading nations in the Caribbean for track and field."

The team is expected to depart for Jamaica on April 14 and to return on April 19.