TENEIL CAMPBELL picked up an extraordinary fourth medal and her first gold for TT yesterday at the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games, after an exciting win in the women’s road race in Barranquilla, Colombia.
It was a difficult race for Campbell, with TT fielding just two riders, but the 20 year old broke through to take TT’s gold medal tally to seven and this country’s overall medal count to 18 – the highest of all English-speaking teams.
Speaking after the race to Colombian media, Campbell balked at a question by a reporter who asked whether this was TT’s first gold medal at the Games.
“No, no, of course not, no, no,” she repeated while laughing, “ I mean, Trinidad and Tobago we have like some of the best cyclists ever and we’re coming. We’re coming for the world, watch out,” she declared.
Campbell thanked teammate Alexi Costa for staying with her throughout what she described as a “stressful” race but said patience was the key. Campbell’s CAC Games haul alos includes bronze medals in the women’s individual pursuit, omnium and scratch track events.
Her victory yesterday follows the hat-trick of gold medals won by swimmer Dylan Carter, a golden individual double by men’s cyclist Nicholas Paul, and the other gold in the men’s cycling team sprint. TT’s second medal yesterday was bronze, earned by the women’s hockey team who defeated Barbados in the play-off.
In a sprint finish yesterday, Campbell crossed the finish line after the arduous 99km journey with less than the length of her bike separating her and the respective runner-up and third place finishers, Yudelmis Dominguez of Cuba and Mexico’s Lizbeth Salazar, both of whom clocked the same time. All three women finished in two hours, 31 minutes, 47 seconds.
So close was the finish, the racers who placed fourth to 12th all clocked 2:31:48, separated by mere split seconds.
TT’s Costa placed 19th, clocking only two seconds slower than Campbell in 2:31:49.
Later in the day, TT hockey women defeated Barbados 2-0 for another bronze. Both goals were scored by Shaniyah de Freitas, one in the first quarter and the other in the dying minutes of the final quarter.
The win reflected a strong series of performances from head coach Anthony Marcano’s charges, who opened their account in the preliminary stage with a 12-0 rout of Guatemala, and followed up with a 2-1 and 1-0 win over Barbados and Jamaica, respectively. On Thursday, the team was knocked out of contention for a gold medal after a 3-0 semi-final loss to Cuba.
The men’s hockey team will go for their bronze today against Guyana from 3.15 pm (TT time).
Now one step away from a podium finish is Breana Stampfli, who continued her brilliant performances in the women’s tennis singles. She won both her sets easily 6-1, 6-2 against Colombia’s Maria Herazo to progress to the semifinals. Stampfli has dropped just one set from three matches so far.
In 10k open water swimming, TT’s Shania David placed 12th after clocking 2:33:06, while Chisara Santana finished outside of the time limit and did not place.
TT’s water polo women’s team suffered another heavy defeat, 20-5, to the host team.
After trailing 6-0 in the first quarter, TT took the second period 4-3. It was the first quarter they outscored a team in for the tournament. Colombia then scored another four goals in the third quarter without a TT reply, before taking the final period 7-1. Shimayah Ross, TT’s top scorer in the tournament, got one goal, as did Ariel Stewart and Thais Hinds, and Jordan van Reeken scored a pair.
TT’s top shooter Roger Daniel teamed up with Marsha Bullen-Jones in the mixed 10m air pistol team finals and scored 724 for an eighth place finish. Cuba scored 761 for the gold medal.
Daniel will return to action today, along with Clement Marshall and Rhodney Allen, for stage one of the 25m rapid fire pistol classification round.
Among the other major events TT will partake in today are the athletics preliminaries, namely the 100, 400 and 800m events; the compound and recurve men and women’s archery preliminaries; the men’s open water 10k led by Gabriel Bynoe; the women’s water polo preliminaries; and both men and women’s volleyball preliminary matches.