Jamaican athletes dominated the first day of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Under-18 and Under-23 Championships at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica with 13 medals on Friday.
Leading the way for the Jamaicans were sprint ace Tina Clayton, who ran a personal best 11.17 seconds (1.1m/s) to cop the girls’ Under-18 100m crown, and triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert, who registered a huge personal best 16.02m in still conditions to claim gold in the Under-18 category.
The Jamaicans were their usual dominant selves despite 15 members of their delegation – 13 athletes and two officials – were detained overnight at the airport due to inappropriate documentation to enter the country.
Eventually, the Jamaican Government had to intervene through diplomatic channels and the group was allowed to enter the meet.
It should be noted that a number of the major athletics countries are absent from the meet. They include the US, Mexico, Canada and Cuba.
Edwin Allen High School’s Clayton, representing her country for the first time, lowered his previous best of 11.25secs when she smashed the field to here on Friday. Second place went to her compatriot Serena Cole in 11.52secs.
In the Under-23 category, Ashanti Moore was disqualified after false-starting.
In the Under-18 triple jump, Hibbert improved his personal best from 15.99m to 16.02m to finish ahead of Javar Thomas with a wind-aided 14.89m (2.6m/s).
The meet organisers had also added an Under-20 category to compensate for the absence of the CARIFTA Games for the second year running.
In the Under-18 boys’ 100m, Alicke Cranston copped gold in 10.42secs (1.6m/s), while Odaine McPherson finished second in the Under-23 final in 10.39secs (0.2m/s).
The race was won by Kuron Griffiths of Barbados in 10.33secs, as Trinidad and Tobago’s Kion Benjamin finished third in 10.40secs.
The Jamaicans were also dominant in the 400m hurdles events, winning three of the four races.
Shian Salmon was the sole competitor in the Under-23 category and she rane 58.29secs. Alliah Baker took the Under-18 event in 1:03.35 minutes, while Roshawn Clarke took the boys’ equivalent in 51.95secs, as his teammate Shamer Blake took third place in 55.20secs.
Cedricka Williams won the Under-18 girls’ discus with a throw of 45.37m to beat teammate Britannia Johnson with 43.59m, and in the men’s Under-23 shot put, Courtney Lawrence was best of the lot with 18.66m, as Danielle Sloley was second in the women’s equivalent with 13.85m.
Kai Chung also won gold in the Under-23 discus, as did Lamara Distin in the Under-23 high jump and Zachary Campbell in the boys’ Under-18 discus.
Chang threw 61.39m to beat compatriot Roje Stona with 61.21m.
Campbell threw 54m, while Distin cleared the bar at 1.85m.