Olympic and World Championships finalist and world indoor silver medalist Devynne Charlton is getting some of her flowers while she’s able to enjoy it.
The Bahamian national record holder in the women’s 60 meters (m) hurdles indoors and 100m hurdles outdoors was honored on Wednesday as she was featured on a roadside billboard at the Tonique Williams-Darling and Christie Avenue entrance of the Stapledon Gardens community. The huge sign, which was erected by the Stapledon Neighborhood Watch group, featured Charlton in competition in Team Bahamas and Puma gear and a list of some of her accomplishments.
It comes just three days before the start of the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games, set for April 8-10, at the Thomas A. Robinson Nation al Stadium.
“This means a lot. I have a lot of fond memories growing up in Stapledon,” said Charlton on Wednesday. “It’s amazing to see what the neighborhood watch is doing with the neighborhood and to be commemorated in this way is an honor. I hope it could be something to show the little kids in Stapledon what they could do and what is possible. It doesn’t matter how small your neighborhood is or where you come from – as long as you work toward your goals, you could get there. It’s convenient to do the unveiling right now, because I’m home, but I really came for the CARIFTA Games. I haven’t been to a CARIFTA at home since I won the gold in 2013, so to be here for the 50th edition of CARIFTA coinciding with our 50th independence is special.”
President of Stapledon Neighborhood Watch group Jouette Smith said ever since they erected the first sign with Shaunae Miller-Uibo, it was always their intention to do the second one with Charlton. The Bahamian pocket rocket, known as ‘Sonic’, is the greatest hurdler in Bahamian history, bringing recognition to an area of track and field that previously wasn’t as popular as other events. Now, more and more Bahamian track and field athletes are taking on the barriers, both over the shorter and longer distances.
In addition to being an Olympic and World Championships finalist in the 100m hurdles, and world indoor silver medalist in the 60m hurdles, Charlton has also won silver at the Commonwealth Games, bronze at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Track and Field Championships, and gold at the Pan American Junior and CAC Junior Track and Field Championships in the 100m hurdles.
She has personal best times of 7.81 seconds and 12.46 seconds in the 60m and 100m hurdles, respectively, and is the most accomplished and decorated hurdler in Bahamian track and field history.
“I’m just so happy for her and real proud,” said younger sister Anthaya who is turning heads as a sprinter and long jumper at the University of Kentucky this season – a star in her own right. “Knowing how hard she works, she deserves everything she has right now. I’m really proud of her.”
Both are home to watch the action at the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games, the older sister more so in an official capacity as she is a volunteer coach at Kentucky where younger sister Anthaya is a sophomore.
“I’m real happy to be home and excited to watch all of the CARIFTA athletes compete on home territory,” said younger sister Anthaya who missed out her final year of CARIFTA eligibility last year. “I miss the competitive atmosphere of CARIFTA real bad. I am so upset with myself for missing out on it last year and I’m ready this year. I just wish I had one more year. I am really proud of myself and excited for what the rest of the season holds for me. It’s crazy to watch the progression. I’m just really excited.”
Younger sister Anthaya recently ran a personal best of 11.13 seconds in the 100m, about a tenth of a second of what older sister Devynne ever ran.
“I’m the fastest sister … no doubt about that,” said Anthaya. “She’s too scared to line up against me right now.”
Be that as it may, in head-to-head matchups, older sister Devynne holds a competitive advantage, winning both of their battles so far. She has nothing but high praise for her younger sister though.
“To watch her progression is something special. On paper, she is faster, but I have a 2-0 record against her. I’m undefeated in that category,” she said.
Older sister Devynne is certainly the more accomplished hurdler and the moment belongs to her, saluting her for a fantastic career up to this point.
Bringing remarks at the unveiling ceremony yesterday was Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg.
“Let me thank the Stapledon Crime Watch group for recognizing one who would have grown in and come from out of the community,” said the minister. “Devynne is one of those athletes who would have gone through a lot. I have seen her grow over the years and now she is one of the exceptional athletes we have here in The Bahamas. I have a great desire of seeing her win a gold medal at the next Olympics. I know she is indeed capable of doing that. Come next year at the Olympics, I want to be right there with her when she receives her first Olympic gold medal.”
Both of the Charlton sisters will be trackside at the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games this Easter holiday weekend. Over 600 athletes are expected to compete in the junior regional athletics meet this weekend. The opening ceremony is set for Friday starting at 4 p.m. at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium, and competition gets underway on Saturday morning.
The opening ceremony and all morning sessions are free of charge.
Tickets for the evening sessions of CARIFTA can still be purchased online at www.carifta50.com or in person at the box office at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium. Daily rates start at $5 and go up to as high as $50 for the VIP section. There are also tickets available for all three days that start from $40 for the bronze section and go up to $130 for the VIP section.