Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Gary Hunt
Event Date: June 20-22, 2008
The 2008 Sagicor Open Track and Field Championship was held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium between Friday June 20th and Sunday June 22nd, 2008. In this Olympic year, top local and foreign based athletes from Trinidad and Tobago as well as from other countries graced the stadium as they sought to showcase their talent and make a bid for Olympic qualification. Over the three days male and female athletes competed in a variety of track and field events including decathlon, shot put, javelin, high jump, long jump, discus throw and sprints.
In a release, the President of the National Amateur Athletic Association, Mr. Ephraim Serrette highlighted the importance of the event as he made mention that sport continues to be an effective tool for the development of our nation's youth. Also addressing the crowd, was Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Gary Hunt, who underscored the government's commitment to the development of youth.
Darrel Brown took a tumble during the Men's 100 Meter dash
Saturday was an exciting day as the audience thickened considerably in anticipation of the showdown between the big guns in the 100 meter dash. Richard 'Torpedo' Thompson, Darrel Brown, Marc Burns and Jamaican sprint star Asafa Powel all faced the starter in the semi-final stage. In his heat, Asafa excited the crowd by running a fast 9.96 seconds, equaling the championship record set by Marc Burns in 2005. The stage was then set for a showdown in the final, however, an announcement came over the PA system that Asafa had decided not to compete in the finals. With tension running through the excited crowd, the starter's pistol went off, and the athletes burst out of the starting blocks, with Darrel Brown surging to the front early on. However, in a strange turn of events Brown took a tumble just after the 50 meter mark and did not finish the race. Marc Burns reached the finish line first in a time of 10.01 edging Richard Thompson and Aaron Armstrong into second and third place respectively, both with a time of 10.10. Keston Bledman was fourth in a time of 10.18.
Women's 100 Meter Finals
The Women's 100 Meter Dash was similarly as exciting as local sprint queen Kelly Ann Baptiste smashed her championship record of 11.17 seconds set in 2005, with a sizzling 11.01 seconds. Ayanna Hutchinson and Semoy Hacket were second and third respectively.
In the Men's Long Jump, Cleavon Dillon easily eclipsed the field with the winning jump of 7.88 meters, ahead of Dellon Williams (7.84m) and Chris Hercules (7.36). In the Women's Long Jump, Cherisse Bachus was victorious in a winning jump of 6.55 meters, ahead of Patrcia Sylvester (6.51) and Carisa Leacock (5.46).
On Sunday, Renny Quow of the Zenith Club brought the audience at the stadium to their feet as he surged past the two race leaders on the final bit of the home stretch to clinch the Men's 400 Meter Dash in a championship record of 45.19 seconds. Stan Waithe and Zwede Hewitt were second and third respectively.
Cleopatra Borel-Brown (C)
Local shot put queen Cleopatra Borel-Brown fell well short of her 2007 record throw of 18.28 meters. However, her top attempt of 17.36 meters was enough to earn her first place. Annie Alexander's heaves showed great promise early on and she managed to grab second place with a throw of 16.84.
Gavyn Nero won double gold as he captured the men's 800 and 1500 meters in fine style. In the 800 meters race, he came from behind on the home stretch and surged to first place as the audience roared in excitement. Sherridan Kirk was second while Jamaal James came in third. Also capturing double gold was Antigua and Barbuda's Kenricka Francis who won both the 3000 meter and 1500 meter events.
It was an exciting three days of athletics and the crowd was well-entertained by the exciting competition taking place both on the track and on the field. In this Olympic year, the public can look forward to more positive showings by the country's athletes.
NAAA Sagicor National Open Championships 2008 in pictures:
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