(SNO) – Grenada won the CBN/WINLOTT Windward Islands Schools Games track and field competition on Sunday at the George Odlum Stadium in Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia.
Grenada amassed 281 points whilst St. Vincent and the Grenadines were 30 points back with 251. The host nation took third place on 209, whilst the Commonwealth of Dominica languished in the basement on 172.
There were wins for the champions in the girls long jump (Aaiyah Bartholomew, 5.27m), shot put (Keslie Murrell-Ross, 12.86m), javelin throw (Reanna Joseph, 32.27m), boys 200m (Nathaniel Mark, 21.47), 400m (Khyle Gibson, 47.93), 1500m (Michael Francois, 4:13.05), triple jump, javelin throw, 4x100m (41.87), high jump (Kenny Horsford, 2.00m), shot put and discus throw (Johann Jeremiah,14.88 and 45.50).
St. Vincent and the Grenadines got off to a strong start in early afternoon, but were unable to sustain their charge, winning gold in the girls 100m (14-year-old Ulanada Lewis, 12.10), 800m and 1500m (Zita Vincent, 2:20.30 and 5:07.66), 4x400m (4:07.02), high jump (Zamesha Myle, 1.60m), discus throw (Krystal Foster, 33.96m), boys 800m (Desroy Jordan, 1:54.51), 4x400m (3:21.97), and long jump (Godwyn Roban, 6.61m).
Saint Lucia remained in third place most of the day, but there was joy through the likes of Kimani Alphonse, winning the girls 200m (24.51) and 400m (54.61). Kimani was also a member of the victorious 4x100m team (48.39), but for some reason did not run the 4x400m. Even team officials appeared uncertain as to why she did not compete.
Whilst the Saint Lucian girls got those three gold medals, their boys got just the 100m title, through former national cricketer Shelton St. Rose (10.60), which leaves him joint second on the list of the fastest Saint Lucian juniors ever. Just 17 years old, young Shelton has a lot of room to grow in his next two years at this level.
The George Odlum Stadium has been the subject of much debate locally in recent weeks, with works being done to strip the roof of the 16-year-old facility.
Not only was there no evidence of said works on Sunday, but a large wooden canopy had been built, extending out from the building to house the majority of the nearly 300 athletes. Bleachers and tents had been commissioned as well, to host parents, fans, and VIP’s.
Why such accommodations could not have been made in years prior to stage local events, not least of which the Inter-Schools Track and Field Championships, would be a great question for the Government of Saint Lucia and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
One hopes that the canopy, at least, will be retained for the 2019 track and field season. It would also be interesting to find out why, at a competition one of whose principal stated purposes is to build camaraderie amongst young people from the sub-region, Team Saint Lucia was located well away from the other participating teams.
With strict limits on team sizes (just 62 total) for a five-sport tournament, where three of the sports are co-ed, the quality of the talent on display at this meet is always uneven.
Saint Lucia suffered further by having as many as three of its team members, who might realistically have contributed on Sunday, travelling back from a netball series in Jamaica. It could also be reasonably argued that, especially in the era of universal secondary education, it’s fairly pointless having an under-21 that only incorporates students based at domestic institutions. The track and field involved only six athletes aged 20, whilst the majority were aged 17 and under.
Action continues in netball (girls), volleyball (boys and girls), football (boys), and basketball (boys and girls) at venues across the south of Saint Lucia from Monday and for the rest of the week.