Thursday, April 18, 2024

Looking to Olympians

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OLYMPIANS Bradley Ally, Nicky Neckles, and Martyn Forde will spearhead Barbados’ challenge at the 21st Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.The three, along with Shawn Clarke comprise the men’s section of the eight-member team; the girls’ division comprises Zabrina Holder, Deandre Small, Amara Gibbs, and Lee-Ann Rose. The team will leave for Puerto Rico on July 15.Both Neckles and Ally won three gold medals at the 2006 CAC Games when Barbados finished third on the gold medal table with nine medals overall. Two-time Olympian Ally, who will be Barbados’ flag bearer, will be participating in four events – the 200m and 400m individual medley and the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Neckles, who has swam at three Olympic Games, will be competing in the three backstroke events as he seeks to repeat his 2006 performance.Sprinter Shawn Clarke has been entered for the 50-metre butterfly and 100m freestyle events. He recorded his best time in the 100m freestyle event in 2009 in Rome where he eclipsed Terrence Haynes’ record. Forde will participate in the 100m freestyle event, which he contested at the Beijing Olympics, as well as the 50m freestyle. He holds the 50m short course national record.  Following their success at the recent Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) in Cuba, the girls will now make their CAC debuts as they compete outside of their respective age groups for the first time.“This prospect, however, has not daunted their spirits as they look forward to testing their prowess against older swimmers,” noted Sonia O’Neale, president of the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association (BASA).“Being national open female record holders, these swimmers have posted the fastest times that a Barbadian has ever done in some events. They have therefore demonstrated that they are ready for open competition,” she added.Holder holds the women’s national open record in the 800m freestyle and the 200m individual medley which were both established this year at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Jamaica. She will be competing in six events across a range of strokes including freestyle, butterfly, and the individual medley.Gibbs, who holds the 200m butterfly open record, will be pursuing a similar slate of events.Breaststroke specialist Small has established her mark in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events and will be adding the 200 distance along with two backstroke events to her repertoire.Youth Olympics qualifier and backstroke specialist Rose will tackle all three backstroke events. Rose is the open record holder in the 100-and-200-metre backstroke events and the 200 metres freestyle.In addition, relays will be contested by both female and male teams. (PR/EZ)

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