TRINIDAD AND Tobago opened its account at the 2022 Caribbean Games with two gold, one silver and a bronze medal in swimming and track events in Guadeloupe on Thursday and Friday.
On Friday evening, sprinter Kion Benjamin won gold in the men’s 100-metre final. He clocked 10.36 seconds and was followed by Dominican Republic’s Franquelo Perez (10.55) and Antigua and Barbuda’s Darion Skerritt (10.72).
In the previous round, Benjamin produced the fastest qualifying time of 10.60 in heat two of four. In heat one, which was contested by TT’s Jayden Moore and Perez only, Moore placed second in 11.24 while Perez eased into the final with his 10.63 clocking.
On Thursday night, swimmer Mark-Anthony Beckles captured TT’s first gold of the Games when he splashed to victory in the men’s 50m freestyle. Beckles touched the wall in 22.93 seconds while compatriot Nikoli Blackman missed out with a fourth place finish in 24.06.
Claiming silver was US Virgin Islands’ Maximilian Wilson (23.54) while Cuban Maikol Rabi Correa (23.97) got bronze.
In the heats, Blackman was the fastest qualifier in 23.17 while Beckles advanced second fastest in 23.89.
Prior to Benjamin’s golden finish in the 100m sprint on Friday, TT’s Akilah Lewis and Leah Bertrand earned silver and bronze medals respectively in the women’s 100m finals.
Lewis clocked a season best time of 11.55 while Bertrand, the TT women's champ, recorded a strong 11.57 performance. However, St Lucian gold medallist Julien Alfred proved a class of her own as she romped to victory in blistering 11.07.
In heat one, Bertrand (11.79) posted the second fastest qualifying time, finishing second behind Alfred (11.34). Lewis however, won heat two in 11.80 with the third fastest qualifying time.
Meanwhile, quarter-milers Che Lara and Rae-Anne Serville advanced to Saturday’s men and women’s 400m finals respectively. Serville clocked 54.81 and was second in her heat and third fastest to advance.
Lara also squeezed into the final when he placed fourth (47.72) in heat two, but also posted the eighth fastest time. Serville and Lara go for gold from 4.30 pm.
Additionally, Lorenzo Luces begins his quest in the men’s triple jump from 5 pm. Fifteen minutes later, Tamia Badal faces the starter in heat two of the women’s 100m hurdles. She competes out of lane two.
The TT netball team also drubbed Guadeloupe 112-5 in their third match at the Laura Flessel Complex.
The victory carried them to two-wins in three matches played, having lost to Barbados in their opener and bouncing back to win against St Vincent and the Grenadines, both on Thursday. They continue with matches against St Lucia (8 am) on Saturday and Jamaica (2 pm) on Sunday.
Also in action on Friday was TT cyclist Tariq Woods, who placed 13th in the men’s indivudla time trial. He returns to action on Sunday for the men’s road race.
And in women’s 3x3 action, TT beat Haiti 10-7 at the Celigny Complex and were leading 12-5, with three minutes to go, against the hosts before heavy rains interrupted play. All remaining 3x3 matches were postponed for the day.
In swimming on Thursday night, Jahmia Harley (28.17) was ninth fastest in the women’s 50m free and did not advance to the semis. Ornella Walker (two minutes 32.81 seconds) was fifth in women’s 200m backstroke heats.
Walker also teamed up with compatriots Blackman, Beckles and Britta Schwengle (Aruba) to place second in 4:15.25 in the 4x100m mixed event.
Additionally, TT’s futsal team played their opening match against Guadeloupe after press time on Friday night