By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.com
The resurgence in quarter-mile running in the Caribbean is well underway with Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago leading the way. As the CARIFTA games approaches, we now look at some exciting prospects in this feature.
Under-20 Boys 400m
Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio is without doubt the class athlete in this event. He has won 400m titles in the Under-17 and Under-20 age group over the years. Cedenio is the defending champion in this event after a thrilling victory over rising star Javon Francis of Jamaica and Stephen Newbold of Bahamas. His winning time of 45.93 seconds remains his personal best.
At the T&T trials, Cedenio won comfortably in 46.27 seconds with his typical late burst in the home straight. His multi-talented teammate Asa Guevara who is also a fine hurdler will provide Cedenio with good support. Guevara finished fifth last year in the finals, and ran 47.49 seconds at the T&T trials to book his spot in this event.
The Trinidadians should receive stiff competition from one of Jamaica’s most promising quarter-milers this season, Nathon Allen. Allen announced himself to Jamaican track fans at the CARIFTA trials with a blazing run covering the one-lap event in a personal best of 46.11 seconds. Two weeks later Allen came a respectable second (46.16) in that amazing race where Javon Francis (45.00) obliterated Usain Bolt’s Class 1 400m record (45.35).
Allen’s St. Jago High School teammate Ivan Henry ran 46.54 for second at the trials, however, he faded badly to last at ‘Champs’ in 48.51 seconds. He might have to prove his race sharpness in training to get the nod over Marco Doodnaughtsingh or the multi-talented Okeen Williams.
Bahamas traditionally have good quarter-milers; however, the times at the Bahamas trials were not flattering. Therefore, Janeko Cartwright and Kelson Pierre will need to bring their ‘A’ games to be amongst the medals. Sadly, Jerrad Mason one of Barbados’ best quarter-milers will be missing after false starting at the trials triggering his omission from the team. Will Cedenio close out his illustrious CARIFTA career in glory? It should be a great final like last year.
Under-18 Boys 400m
World Youth Champion at 400m Martin Manley is set to dominate this field. Manley was a double winner (200m/400m) in the Under-17 category at CARIFTA last year and has a personal best of 45.89 seconds over 400m. He coasted to victory at the Jamaica CARIFTA trials in 46.51 seconds and despite not competing over that distance at ‘Champs’ seems to be in good condition to run very fast.
Manley’s teammate Nathaniel Bann (47.24 PB) if passed fit could provide Jamaica with the silver medal. Jamaica also has another quality quarter-miler in Nigel Ellis who ran (47.45) at the CARIFTA trials who is more than capable to provide support for Manley if selected.
Last year fans witnessed a great Under-17 400m final when Kinard Rolle of Bahamas ran a blistering 350m before the tactical Martin Manley who silenced a vociferous home crowd overhauled him to win in 47.72 seconds.
It is not certain if Rolle who got silver in 48.05 will only be doing relay duties this year, as Henri Deluze (47.94) and Samson Colebrooke (48.69) who performed on the day at the trials could represent Bahamas instead. Other possible finalists for this event should come from, Jason Yaw of Guyana with a 47.76 personal best, Kashief King (48.41) of T&T and Bajan quarter-miler Ramarco Thompson who ran a personal best of 48.34 earlier in the season.
Under-18 Girls 400m
This event is shaping up to be a cracker. Exciting Bajan runner Sada Williams who dominated the 200m/400m at the Barbadian Secondary Schools comes to the games with high credentials. She easily won the trials in 54.99 seconds and a few weeks later established a new record (54.04) in the Under-20 section of the Barbados Secondary Schools Championships. She won both events by almost two seconds and will get some real competition at the CARIFTA games to test her pedigree.
Jamaica’s Tiffany James will certainly test Williams’ readiness in this event. James, who won the 400m Under-17 CARIFTA title last year before going on to claim bronze at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships, is in spanking form this season. She defeated a quality field to win the CARIFTA trials in 53.76 seconds and followed with an outstanding victory in the pressure-filled atmosphere at ‘Champs’ in 54.19 seconds. Both Williams and James are champions and probably hate to lose which makes for a very exciting showdown for track fans in this event.
A few returning finalists from the Under-17 category could spice up this event. Bahamian pair Doneisha Anderson who won bronze and sixth place finisher Shaquana Dorsette must not be underestimated. Dorsett won the Bahamas CARIFTA trials in 54.79 beating Anderson.
Tarika ‘Tinker Bell’ Moses of British Virgin Islands last year’s silver medal winner who survived an injury scare at the trials has been selected. Jamaica’s other entrant should be newcomer Taqece Duggan who finished second to Tiffany James at the CARIFTA trials in 54.73 and at ‘Champs’ in the Class 2 final in 54.70. Who will it be, Williams or James?