FOUR TOBAGO athletes are among a contingent of 43 athletes selected by the National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA) to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Carifta Games in Jamaica, from April 16-18.
Miguel Taylor and Lalenil Grant of Mercury, Alexxe Henry of Zenith along with Jaidi James of Falcons, will hope to add to the medal collection of the red, white and black, at the Caribbean's premier youth athletic games.
James, who is currently attending Jamaica College, was enthusiastic on selection for his first Carifta experience, in the under-17 boys high jump and long jump.
He said, “I am very grateful for making my first national team. I want to thank my coaches and parents for all the support. I am looking forward to doing my best in representing my country, and hopefully leave the Games with two medals.”
Taylor will be among five athletes vying for a spot on the boys under-20 4x100m relay team.
Grant will feature in the girls under-20 discus, Henry will contest the girls under-17 100m and 200m.
Taylor was the only locally-based Tobago athlete to achieve the set Carifta standards. Taylor ran a time of 10.70 seconds in the final at the Carifta trials, to dip under the required 10.74 mark, for a third-place finish.
Grant, who won her discus event at the trials, was centimetres short of the 41.93 standard. Her best throw on the day landed at 41.32 metres.
Henry, who has been the dominant sprinter in her age group throughout the development meets, also recorded her best performances at the trials.
She flashed 12.17 seconds in the 100 metres, in search of the 12.13 standard, and stopped the clock at 25.15 seconds in the 200m, in her attempt to attain 24.68 for automatic qualification.
Janae De Gannes, who started her career in Tobago, but currently resides in Trinidad, was the only under-17 female athlete to eclipse the standard in both events.
De Gannes ran 11.77 in the 100m and 24.50 in the 200m, but her participation at the games will hinged on changes to the NACAC technical manual, as it relates to vaccination status, for competing at the regional meet.
James met the qualifying standards during his performances in the Jamaica track and field season.
Commenting on the Tobago selection, a Tobago coach who wished to stay anonymous said, “It is the smallest Tobago contingent on a Carifta team in memory. The government (vaccination) policy clearly had its impact. The damage has already been done. Those children will not forget this.”
Secretary of the Tobago Athletic Committee Jayann Campbell congratulated the athletes on their selection. She said, "On behalf of the association, we hope they remain grounded and do their best for the country.”
The under-20 boys category, which was the most competitive during the season, will account for 17 athletes attending the games, which is the largest number in any age group.
TT will not be represented in the relays at the under-17 girls level.
Durly Lucas, the NAAA third vice president, who is the team manager, is the only Tobago representative among the 12 officials selected.