The Turks and Caicos Islands junior athletes did the country proud at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under 18- 23 Track and Field event at the Estadio Nacional in San José, Costa Rica, from July 9 to 11.
National High Jump record holder Tanesia Gardiner mined bronze, in the Female 3000m race. Gardiner displayed grit and determination in a strong field, to finish in 12:24.41 seconds, to snare the bronze. Costa Rica had a one-two in that event with Valeria Poveda Calvo crossing the line in 11:37.43 seconds and Abigail Ramirez Campos stopping the clock at 11:39.23 seconds.
Antwon Walkin delivered in the shotput, hurling the shot to 14.20m, only bettered by Jamaica’s Zachry Campbell, who threw the shot to a distance of 16.27m and Costa Rica’s Jeims Molina Alverez, whose throw was measured at 14.86m.
According to the coaching staff, all the TCI athletes were competitive in their events. They believe that the performances by the country’s budding athletes will augur well for the future of athletics in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The TCI contingent comprised of three athletes - Gardiner, Antwon Walkin and his twin brother Rayvon Walkin.
National Track and Field Coach, Randy Ford, told NewslineTCI that he was impressed by the performances, not just because they competed against much older athletes, but due to the fact they are being locally trained.
“Generally, I am satisfied with the performance. As a matter of fact, I am impressed with their performance, because they were young in comparison to their rivals,” he said, noting that next year these same athletes would still be in the under 18 category, and so, should be much better prepared.
“I am extremely proud seeing that these are all home-grown talent. These are kids that we work with at Venetian Road throughout, from as early as the end of the (COVID) lockdown all the way down to here.
“And they will have bounced back seeing that they missed out on a Carifta game. So, their only two competitions prior to now (NACAC) would have been the Carifta Trials and the Miami Classics,” Ford stated.
He reiterated that the local athletes had done extremely well, in comparison to athletes in other places such as Jamaica, who have access to development needs, and some of whom attend boarding institutions.
The NACAC championship, which is a biennial event, will be held next year again since it was not held in 2019 Due to COVID-19.
“They would have garnered substantial experience and that would put them in the running for medals come next year once they stay in the level of dedication,” he said.