The Bahamas has a pair of gems in the javelin event for youth girls that was apparent at last year’s CARIFTA Games and even more profound at this year’s 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games.
Reference is to new CARIFTA record holder in that event in the under-17 girls category Kamera Strachan and former record holder Dior-Rae Scott. They excelled at CARIFTA for the second year in a row, this time winning gold and silver for The Bahamas.
After finishing fourth last year, while watching her brother Keyshawn Strachan set a new CARIFTA record in the under-20 boys division, Kamera returned with a vengeance at this year CARIFTA Games at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, The Bahamas.
She let the javelin fly for 46.07 meters (m) – 151’ 2” for the gold medal and new CARIFTA record on Easter Monday morning. The old record of 44.57m (146’ 2”) was set by her school, club and national teammate Scott in Kingston, Jamaica, last year.
“I feel great. Last year, I came fourth and I was sad about that, but this year I set my mind that I was going for gold and the record and I was able to do that,” said Strachan. “It feels great to be following in his footsteps,” she added about her brother Keyshawn who just threw a world-leading throw of 84.27m (276’ 5”) in the men’s javelin at his first collegiate meet a little over a week ago.
“Hopefully, I could live up to what he is able to achieve. I just wanted to represent my country well and get the gold and I was able to do that,” said Strachan.
She took the lead from early in the competition, turning in a throw of 45.60m (149’ 7”) to initially break the record and set the tone for the rest of the event. In the second round, Strachan extended her lead, taking the record to 46.07m. She was over 40m (131’ 3”) on each of her remaining throws.
Scott was fantastic as well, particularly on her third round effort when she turned in a massive personal best throw of 45.13m (148’ 1”). Naya Jules, of St. Lucia, won the bronze medal with a throw of 42.92m (140’ 10”).
“I’m happy that I was able to get a personal best out of this and I’m more than happy and proud of my teammate,” said Scott. “It wasn’t exactly what I expected but I’m still proud of myself. I’m happy to come out with a medal. I believe that we (Kamera and herself) will continue to grow in this sport. We’ll train harder and continue to try to get better. I have to thank God, both of my coaches – Corrington Maycock and Laquel Harris, and also thanks to my mother and the rest of my family and friends.”
The experience was even more gratifying for Strachan as it was her brother Keyshawn who presented her with her gold medal on Monday. The under-17 girls javelin was the only event of the weekend in which The Bahamas finished first and second.
The most innovative event on the CARIFTA schedule this year, the mixed 4x400m relay, produced another gold medal for The Bahamas. The Bahamas’ team of Javonya Valcourt, Lacarthea Cooper, Tumani Skinner and Shimar Bain, in that order, won gold in 3:24.62. Grenada was second in 3:27.22 and Jamaica won the bronze medal in 3:29.25.
Valcourt and Cooper were the silver and bronze medalists from the under-20 girls 400m the night before.
“I just wanted to put the team in a good position and I feel I was able to do that,” said Valcourt about her opening leg performance. “It was great coming together with these guys and the mixed relay was well-received. I hope they keep it.”
Cooper said she enjoyed the experience as well. Whereas Valcourt had all girls on her leg, Cooper was matched up against boys on her leg but she kept her composure and responded well.
“Running with the boys was a different experience for me and I was like what’s going on, but I just had to stick with the plan and run my race. After I settled in, I just ran my hardest and I knew my teammates would pick me up,” she said.
Skinner was tasked with bringing The Bahamas back in contention and he did just that, leading them into second.
“All I was saying on my leg was that I have to do my part to help lead us to a gold. We were behind so there was a lot that needed to be done, but we got it done and won the gold. It’s a good feeling,” he said.
Bain, the veteran leader of the team, chased the Grenadian female runner in front of him, erasing about a 75-meter lead. He passed the Grenadian athlete right after the 200-meter mark and powered home the rest of the way.
“From the CARIFTA Trials, all I was saying was that I have to find a way to get a gold in my last CARIFTA, and this was it. That is all I wanted and now I have it,” he said.
One of the more controversial relays on Sunday night was the under-20 boys 4x100m final. Team Bahamas’ lead-off runner Zachary Evans initially failed to get out of the blocks, citing that it was difficult for him to hear the gun with the noise in the stadium. After a call back of the athletes, the officials allowed the race to go on with The Bahamas taking part. It looked like Evans flinched in the blocks on the first go-around and couldn’t adjust to get a clean start at the crack of the gun. The Bahamas’ team of Evans, Adam Musgrove, Zion Campbell and Carlos Brown Jr., in that order, went on to finish second in that race in 39.78 seconds. Jamaica won the gold in 39.68 seconds as DeAndre Daley anchored the Jamaican team to victory, passing Brown in the final 15 meters of the race. Trinidad and Tobago finished third in 40.83 seconds.
It was one of the more thrilling races of the three-day meet.
“I feel like I could have gotten out a bit better, but I still went out there and executed,” said Evans. “We came out of it with a silver medal so I feel it’s a great accomplishment. The crowd noise got to me at the beginning and it was a lil hard to hear so I was a bit confused. I’m glad that the officials realized that and gave us an opportunity run again.”
Musgrove said he is grateful for the medal winning performance. He won bronze medals in the under-20 boys 100 and 200m.
“There is that part of you where always want to win, so I’m a bit disappointed with that, but I’m happy that we were able to run hard and come out with a medal,” he said.
Campbell ran a strong third leg for The Bahamas, handing off to anchor leg Brown with a slight lead for the home country.
“I just want to give God all the thanks and praise for allowing me to run the third leg like I was able to and give us a chance,” said Campbell. “I’m grateful that we all came out of the race healthy and with a medal. We’ll take that.”
Despite getting passed on the home stretch, Brown said he was pleased with the performance and grateful for a medal.
“I just wanted to get out and finish strong. Unfortunately, I had a lil issue with my hamstring and that hampered me a bit, but I’m still grateful that we were able to come out here and win a medal,” he said.
Brown and Musgrove were second and third respectively in the under-20 boys 100m final. Daley, who passed Brown in the relay, false started in the semifinals of the under-20 boys 100m and was subsequently disqualified. Davonte Howell, of the Cayman Islands, won the gold in the under-20 boys 100m in 10.30 seconds.
The Bahamas finished second to Jamaica for a fourth straight time in CARIFTA track and field, winning nine gold, 12 silver and 20 bronze for 41 total medals. Jamaica won CARIFTA track and field for a 37th straight time, collecting 38 gold medals, 21 silver and 11 bronze for 70 total medals. Trinidad and Tobago was third behind Jamaica and The Bahamas with five gold medals, seven silver and 10 bronze for 22 total medals.