Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Heading to CAC

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Barbados is being represented this month in 19 sporting disciplines at the 22nd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mexico with the track & field team once more expected to spearhead the hunt for gold.

For the first time, golf is on the programme and Barbados is being represented by local champion James Johnson while much is expected on the lawn tennis courts from fast rising 22-year-old Darian King, the number one player in the country and the hero behind this country’s recent Davis Cup triumphs. Much is expected of  him and the island’s number two Hayden Lewis.

Kierre Beckles, a finalist in the women’s 100 hurdles at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland, will spearhead the four-member track team for the Games slated for Veracruz from November 14-30. Fellow hurdler Greggmar Swift and sprinters Levi Cadogan and Fallon Forde make up the rest of the athletics team.

Barbados has overall captured 71 CAC medals with the bulk of them coming from track & field and swimming. It is bound to be tough in the pool for Barbados with the most decorated swimmers Bradley Ally and Nicky Neckles having retired. Albert Selby, Lani Cabrera and Zabrina Holder are the ones chosen to make the big splash in the pool.

Neckles will be in Mexico but as part of the three-man canoeing team along with Simon Goodridge and Stanley Brooker.

At the last CAC Games in Puerto Rico in 2010,  Ally (2) and hurdler Ryan Brathwaite, were the only Barbadians to strike gold, with this country securing ten medals and a modest 11th place in the medal table.

It is bound to be even tougher for Barbados with both Brathwaites, Ryan and Shane, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, unavailable. World junior champion in the long jump, Akela Jones, who is enrolled at Kansas State University, is also missing out.

Squash has been one of the leading sports for Barbados at the CAC level in recent times, collecting two medals in 2010 and three in 2006. Caribbean champion and 14-time national queen Karen Meakins, will want to ensure that that success continues.

Manager Craig Archer says he is quietly confident that the squash team can pick up medals in women’s singles, mixed doubles and the women’s team. Archer said that Meakins and seven-time national champion Shawn Simpson, should do well in the mixed doubles. The women’s team includes radio personality Alex Jordan, who will make her first appearance at the CAC level.

Judo, one of the few bright spots from the Commonwealth Games, will be looking to Kyle Maxwell, Nathan Weithers and promising teen Onoh-Obasi Okey.

There is no place in the cycling team for the highly touted Darren Matthews. The two riders selected are Jason Perryman and Edward Sutherland.

Ricardo Blackman, Leonard Harewood and Adrian Biscette are in a new-look boxing team while Sherrice Felix and Anne Reid are carrying the torch on the table tennis boards.

Beach volleyball, boxing, golf, hockey men and women, judo, rugby, sailing, squash, swimming and tennis will be held in Veracruz while archery, athletics, badminton, cycling, equestrian, shooting and table tennis take place in Xalapa.

This country’s best performance was in 2006 in Colombia when they collected 19 medals.

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