T&T's Keeran Sriskandarajah and Aaron Antoine nabbed gold medals on the opening day of the 49th Carifta Games at the National Stadium in Kingston Jamaica on Saturday night.
The duo's performance helped T&T pick up nine medals on the first day of the three-day meet with Anthony Diaz, Kayleigh Forde and Andrew Steele copping silver and Troy Llanos, Jaden James, Kaiyin Morris and Shaniqua Bascombe, bagging bronze.
Sriskandarajah won T&T's first gold medal at the region's premier track and field meet in the Boys' Under-17 1,500 metres with a time of four minutes and 10.58 seconds ahead of Guyanese Javon Roberts with 4:12.54 and Jamaican Yoshane Bowen (4:13.15), respectively.
In the boys' U-20 high jump event, it came down to a battle between Antoine and Jamaican Brandon Pottinger but it was the T&T jumper emerging with the win after clearing the bar at 2.16m. Pottinger won silver with 2.14m and in third place was Verrol Sam of St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) with 2.00m.
Diaz placed second in the boys' U-20 javelin throw with 63.69m behind favourite Keyshawn Strachan of the Bahamas. The tall Bahamian improved both his personal best and the Carifta record with a mighty heave of 79.89m to clinch gold and headline the morning session of the Games which made a return after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Strachan cranked out the record with his first-round throw, a huge effort that sailed past the orange-taped line set to indicate the old mark of 78.28m set by Grenada's Anderson Peters, six years ago was no longer valid. In the process, Strachan added more than a full metre to his personal best of 78.63m.
He arrived at the Games as the number one U-20 javelinist in the world and will now leave almost four metres clear of 17-year-old Gyorgy Herczeg of Hungary. Finishing third in the event was Jamaica's Christopher Young with a mark of 57.52m. Dorian Charles, T&T's other athlete in the event placed fifth with 58.84m.
The javelin was the first event to be completed and soon after, Jamaica's Danielle Noble outlasted the field to snatch gold in the girls' Under-17 high jump, holding her nerve to sail over a bar set at 1.73m.
Tenique Vincent of T&T finished second at 1.65m and Jah'kyla Morton of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) claimed bronze at 1.60m. T&T's other athlete in the event Gianna Paul just missed out on a medal, placing fourth with 1.60m.
Forde's success came in the Girls U-17 1,500m when she crossed in 4:52.14, following Attoya Harvey of Guyana with 4:45.75 to the line and ahead of Kededra Coombs (Jamaica) with 4:52.19. T&T's Aniqah Bailey also competed in the final and she finished fifth with 4:57.02.
Andrew Steele won silver in the boys' U-17 long jump event with 6.61m behind Andrew Stone of Cayman Islands (6.76m) and ahead of Euan Young of Jamaica with 6.60m. Jaidi James placed seventh with 6.24m.
Llanos was a third-place finisher in the boys' U-20 1,500m with a time of 4:01.47 behind Jamaican pair J'Voughnn Blake (4:00.04) and Adrian Nethersole (4:01.45), respectively.
James' 52.28m placed him third in the boys' U-20 discus. Kobe Lawrence (Jamaica) won the gold with 60.77m; 2 while Christopher Young (Jamaica) copped the silver with 54.30m.
Morris' bronze came in the boys' U-17 400m final when he clocked 49.01 to finish third behind Jamaican duo Marchino Rose (48.41) and Tajh-Marques White (48.42), respectively. T&T's Kyle Williams also competed in the one-lap final and he placed sixth with 50.43.
Bascombe was the lone T&T sprinter in the dash to reach the podium. She placed third with 11.57 behind twin sisters Tina and Tia Clayton of Jamaica with times of 11.22 and 11.30, respectively.
In the boys' U-20 medal race, Revell Webster crossed seventh with 10.65 while in the girls' U-17 100m final, Janae De Gannes placed fifth with a time of 12.00, Jamario Russell was sixth in the boys' version of the race with 11.02.
Kyah La Fortune was eliminated in the first round of the girls' U-20 100m with her time of 12.27 while Jaden De Souza in the boys' category also reached the semifinals with 10.89 but did not qualify for the medal race in the next round with his 10.64-clocking.
T&T's Alexxe Henry reached the semifinal round in the girls' U-17 100m with 12.15 in the preliminary round but her time of 12.24 was not quick enough to get her into the final.
Khadeem Ryan, the other sprinter in the boys' U-17 category also did not advance to the final from the opening round. He clocked 11.33.
In the Girls U-17 400m medal race, T&T's Jenna-Marie Thomas crossed with 58.39 to place fifth while Peyton Winter (T&T) finished sixth in the Girls U-17 shot put finale with 12.02m and in the Girls U-20 400m, Jamaican-based Natasha Fox clocked 56.81 top finish ninth overall in the preliminary round and did not advance to the final.
Cyril Sumner placed seventh in the boys 400m medal race with a 48.67-timing. while over on the field Lalenii Grant was fifth in the girl's U-20 discus with 43.68m.