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St Fort chases gold, record

Kwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 15.04.2017

Khalifa St Fort wants to make her final Carifta Games a memorable occasion. St Fort is favoured to repeat as girls' under-20 100 metres champion here in Willemstad, Curacao, this evening. But the 19-year-old Trinidad and Tobago sprinter is targeting more than victory. She wants to erase the meet record from the books.

The task for St Fort, however, is not an easy one. At 11.03 seconds, the girls' under-20 century standard is one of the toughest in the Carifta record books. Established at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad on April 11, 1998 by both Jamaican Aleen Bailey and Bahamian Tameka Clarke, a "doubtful timing" cloud has always hung over the clocking. But 11.03 is still listed as the official Carifta record. St Fort, though, is not daunted.

"I am very satisfied with my preparation for Carifta," the Florida-based track star told the Express. "My training indicates that I am ready to run a personal best. My goals are to break the 100-metre Carifta record of 11.03 and run sub-23 for the 200."

St Fort opens the defence of her 100m title in the qualifying round this afternoon. The final is scheduled for 7.20 p.m. T&T will also be represented in the girls' under-20 100m by Shikyla Walcott.

The strongest challenge for St Fort is likely to come from Jamaican sprinters Aneka Brissett and Kasheika Cameron. Brissett's personal best is 11.41 seconds, while Cameron has an 11.49 clocking to her name. St Fort, however, is in another class. She is the T&T junior record holder at 11.16 seconds and has a season's best of 11.30. All things being equal, St Fort will run away with gold at the Ergilio Hato Stadium.

With Barbadian Sada Williams, the 2016 200m champion, aged out of the junior ranks, St Fort is also tipped for gold in the half-lap event.

"For sure, I will be going for the sprint double this year," St Fort declared. "I know it won't be easy, but I'm hoping I will be able to complete both events."

The 200m qualifying round takes place tomorrow morning. The final will be contested on Monday afternoon.

Avindale Smith and Adell Colthrust are expected to fly the T&T flag in today's boys' under-18 100m dash. Jerod Elcock and Jalen Purcell will run in the boys' under-20 100m. And in the girls' under-18 100m, Akilah Lewis and Ayla Stanisclaus will be on show.

Jacob St Clair and Kashief King are the T&T athletes in the boys' under-20 400m. Tyshawn Gray and Akil Boisson are expected to face the starter in the boys' under-18 one-lap. And in the girls' under-18 400m, Rae-Anne Serville and Joanna Rogers are listed for national duty.

Tyra Gittens and Anya Akili will be the first T&T athletes in action at Carifta 2017. They face the starter at nine o'clock this morning in the girls' open heptathlon 100m hurdles. Kerlon Ashby and Aaron Caesar will compete in the boys' open octathlon.

Ianna Roach bids for the girls' under-18 shot put title during today's morning session. And in the boys' under-20 javelin, Odell Joefield and Vandel Joseph will battle for honours. In the second session field events, T&T will be represented by Konnel Jacob and Clarence Hannibal in the boys' under-20 discus, Aaron Cruickshank in the boys' under-18 long jump and Kieanne Blackman in the girls' under-20 discus.

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St Fort chases gold, record
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DEFENDING CHAMPION: Khalifa St Fort seen here competing in the 200 metres event at the Carifta trials at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, last month.

Trinidad Express

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