Sprinter wins U-20 100-meter dash
South Florida-based rising sprint star, 18-year-old Khalifa St. Fort, copped the gold medal for Trinidad and Tobago in the U-20 100-meter dash recently at the 45th CARIFTA Games, held at the National Stadium in St. George’s, Grenada.
Against a strong head wind, St. Forte still managed to run a competitive time of 11.40 seconds, trouncing Jamaican Patrice Moody, who came second in 10.68 seconds, and Bahamian Brianne Bethlel in third place at 11.75 seconds.
“It feels amazing,” St. Fort told reporters after her race. “I am so happy I was able to represent Trinidad and Tobago well. There is a great field of competitors out here. I was so excited to come out here and have goals.”
The former St. Thomas Aquinas student, however, just missed her chance for a double CARIFTA win, when coach and two-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Ato Boldon, decided to withdraw her from the 200 and 4×100-meter relay events when she complained of severe hip pain.
“I pulled her from the meet this morning,” Boldon said. “She had hip pain overnight and couldn’t warm-up this morning. Her CARIFTA 2016 is over.”
Despite the disappointment, it was a red letter week for the budding sprint powerhouse. Just before the official launch of the CARIFTA Games, St. Fort announced that she would be turning professional, following a lucrative deal with Caribbean-based Flow Communications. Reports also say that St. Fort will also soon sign a shoe contract.
Born in Miami, St. Fort is eligible to compete for Trinidad and Tobago through her mother, who is a Trinidadian native.
“I make a vow today that I will represent Trinidad and Tobago well at every sports event,” St. Fort said at the press conference announcing her professional career. “I will do my best to show every young girl and boy that with help, determination, hard work and great parenting you can achieve your dreams.”
St. Fort is currently the third fastest in the world under-18 for the 100 meters, last year winning gold in the 100-meter race at the Pan American Junior Games.