Aaron Antoine went beyond his previous best to reach the top of the podium in the Boys' Under-20 high jump event at the 49th Carifta Games which ended on Monday in Kingston, Jamaica.
Upon his return home Tuesday night, he expressed how proud he was of his golden performance and that he enjoyed the moment.
"Firstly thanks to God, without him I couldn't do it," said the appreciative six-foot 11-inch jumper, "but the championships was way beyond my expectations. I had a lot of fun. I had probably the toughest competition I have ever had in my life.
"Brandon Pottinger gave me a good run for my money but I'm looking forward to jumping against him in the future."
Antoine won gold on his final attempt with a 2.16m-clearance ahead of Jamaican Pottinger with 2.14m.
On the standard of the contest, he said, "I think it was pretty high because I had to pb (personal best) three times in that competition so it made me go to heights I never went to before."
He may have had a some help thanks to his basketball skills. In March, Antoine participated in a National Basketball Association (NBA) Elite Development team at the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico.
"I think what I did up there kind of helped in terms of my vertical leap. I did a lot of power work up there so I think it had a big aid in my competition Saturday evening," said Antoine, who also competed in the long jump event and placed 10th at the Games.
The multi-talented athlete's future plans include the Pan American Juniors and the World U-20 Championships.
His captain Shakeem McKay had the task of not only representing T&T at two events, the 200m and the 4x400m relay, but keeping his squad motivated.
" I just wanted to encourage the youths, especially those who it is their first national team. I just wanted encourage them, motivate them to do their best no matter what. Nobody can ask for more than their best," said McKay.
"I just wanted to go out there and show people what I have to offer and try to just stay focus on everything that I've been working on. It was really difficult for the two years that we had no competition. Lack of motivation, lack of support, it was really tough but at the end of the day, we really got through the two years and as you can see from the Carifta Games, everybody got their head on at the right timing and it was a success."
McKay helped the 4x400m relay cop silver with a time of 3:09.67, to follow Jamaica to the line in 3:08.94. In the 200m dash, he placed fourth with 21.79.
Shaniqua Bascombe competed in the girls' version of the half-lap event and placed second with 24.18 seconds on Monday. Two days before, she emerged the 100m bronze medallist (11.57).
The 2019 junior "Sportswoman of the Year" is now ready to make the leap to senior level.
"Right now, I'm targeting Pan Am Games and I hope I get picked for the Commonwealth Games because I'm looking forward to be making a senior team this year," said Bascombe who bids farewell to the youth competition.
"I am happy that I went out there to represent my country at my final Carifta Games."
While she is making her way out, Tenique Vincent's career is just starting and she opened with a second-place finish in the girls U-17 high jump event.
"I won a silver medal and my performance was pretty well. Some events were tough," said a soft-spoken Vincent.
The 14-year-old was loud with her performance at the National Stadium, competing against girls two and three years older than her. Vincent was the runner-up, clearing the bar at 1.65m.
In the U-20 heptathlon, she tallied 4,010 points to place fifth. T&T's Gianna Paul was the bronze medallist in the seven-discipline event with 4,245 points.
Vincent's takeaway from her debut at the Carifta Games: "I learn not all the time you will always win."
Keeran Sriskandarajah - Boys U-17 1,500m
Aaron Antoine - Boys U-20 high jump
Tennique Vincent - Girls U-17 high jump
Kayleigh Forde - Girls U-17 1,500m
Anthony Diaz - Boys U-20 javelin
Andrew Steele - Boys U-17 long jump
Kenika Cassar - Girls U-17 javelin
Boys U-17 - 4x100m
Keeran Sriskandarajah - Boys U-17 800m
Nathan Cumberbatch- Boys U-20 800m
Shaniqua Bascombe - Girls U-20 200m
Boys U-17 - 4x400m
Boys U-20 - 4x400m
Jaden James - Boys U-20 discus
Troy Llanos - Boys U-20 1,500m
Kaiyin Morris - Boys U-17 400m
Shaniqua Bascombe - Girls U-20 100m
Girls- U-20 - 4x100m
Girls U-17 - 4x100
Gianna Paul - Girls U-20 heptathlon
Natasha Fox - Girls U-20 400m hurdles
Adriana Quamina - Girls U-17 discuss
Tafari Waldron - Boys U-20 5,000m