media_artricles :: 2017
St Fort targeting Flow Carifta sprint doubleRachael Thomspon-King :: Trinidad Guardian :: 08.04.2017
Khalifa St Fort has already tasted Carifta Games glory once and, come next weekend in Curacao, she intends to relive that experience.
On Friday, St Fort as well as coach Ato Boldon declared the runner's intent to target 100 and 200 metres gold at the premier track and field youth meet in the region.
The local athlete is widely regarded as one of this country's finest sprinters and is hoping to show off her talents when the 46th edition of the Games unfolds in city of Willemstad over the Easter weekend (April 15-17).
Carting away the sprint double titles has all but consumed St Fort over the past few months having been deprived of the opportunity last year in Grenada, due to injury.
"Preparations have been going great. I am excited about competing at Carifta," said St Fort, who will be competing for the second straight year at the Games sponsored by Flow. "My aim is to do the sprint double which I was not able to do last year because of the injury to my hip."
She has been putting in the work and is ready to take on the best the Caribbean and the region has to offer. Last year, St Fort sprinted to gold in the Girls Under-20 100m dash at the premier youth track and field meet in St George's, Grenada. She stopped the clock at 11.40 seconds.
She was carded to race in the girls' U-20 200m event but her coach pulled her out of the competition after suffering severe hip pains while warming up on the day after her blistering run in the 100m win.
"I am hoping to break the record in the 100m of 11.03 and run a personal best (pb) in the 200m," said the World U-20 100m bronze medallist.
It's a large ask of the local sprinter who has faced many trials getting to the point to be fully healthy to compete at the Games. She remains motivated to do her best for the red, black and white.
"My family, friends and fans give me the motivation to work hard everyday. To do what is necessary. I don't want to give anything but my best to represent T&T," said the patriot.
Coach Boldon knows St Fort is ready for the challenge from the other countries but he is quite aware that the target of double sprint titles will not be easy, particularly in the 200m, where he feels she will face her toughest competitors.
"I know Khalifa can repeat as the 100m champion. She is ahead of where she was at this point last year having been eight weeks behind her preparation in the pre-season when we started training in mid-October," said Boldon. "But at the Carifta trials she looked good and I expect her to do well at Carifta."
At the trials hosted at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, St Fort sped to victory in 11.30, surpassing the required standard of 11.80, to be the lone qualifier from that event.
Boldon said, "Her biggest challenge will come from Sada Williams from Barbados in the 200m. She is much better at the 200m and has much faster pb.
"Last year when she didn't run the 200m because of the injury (hip), people were saying that Khalifa didn't run because she was afraid of Sada so that is motivating her even more," said the four-time Olympic medallist. "She is looking forward to the challenge."
Williams won gold at last year's event in a time of 22.72, just missing out on the Carifta record of 22.77 as the wind was not legal.
"Khalifa knows she needs to get better in the 200m to improve on her 10os. She didn't do as well as we had hoped at the Texas Relays but she is confident," said Boldon, who praised St Fort for her high work ethics.
"I have never had a problem with Khalifa. She is always ready to work. She works just as hard as other athletes," said Boldon. "Khalifa is the real athlete, she makes my work easy," said Boldon, proudly.
Khalifa St Fort