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TCI Junior Athletes Shine at Florida Meet

The Turks and Caicos Islands Junior Track and Field Athletes who competed at the 45th Northwest Track and Field Classic in Pompano Beach Florida on the weekend returned with a stunning 21 medals, 10 of which were gold.

The victorious athletes are pictured with their coaches and managers at the Providenciales International Airport on their return from the 45th Northwest Track and Field Classic in Pompano Beach Florida

The haul was completed with six silver and five bronze.

There were three double gold medalists for the Turks and Caicos Islands at the event. They are Rayvon Walkin, his twin brother Antwon and Zoe Butler.

Competing in the 15-16 age group, Rayon mined gold in the long jump and high jump. He also bagged a silver in the 100m dash. Antwon Walkin also snared gold in the shot put and discus.

Zoe Butler, the only female competing in the 17-18 category snatched gold in the 800m and 400m events. Ashley Gardiner also mined gold in the 13-14 category, so did Jaquasia Wright in the 15-16 age group javelin and bronze in the discus.

In the 13-`14 category, Robiesha Johnson bagged bronze in the 400m. The Turks and Caicos Islands, in the 4x100m Girls 15 to 16, comprised of Tanesia Gardiner, Lynn Antoine, Daisy McIntosh and Aniyah Forbes, secured silver.

Coach Randy Ford declared that the performances of the young athletes were superb, with a few of them attaining personal bests. He said they had been training all year-round and were disappointed that the Carifta Championships scheduled for Bermuda was cancelled. And so, weekend’s meet was a clear demonstration that they had been chomping at the bits to be let loose.

It is also understood that the performances from the juniors raised a lot of eyebrows, to the point that U.S coaches began to express interest in them through potential awarding of scholarships.

Head of delegation, Judith Ewing, told reporters that based on the performance of the athletes, the future appeared bright. She said the athletes were focused and dedicated to their craft, which she believes is a recipe for success.

In the meantime, Edith Skippings, President of the Turks and Caicos Amateur Athletics Association (TCAAA) said that the young performers more than delivered. She pointed out that the athletes who were the first to compete, motivated those who were scheduled to perform later.

“It was much more than I thought that it would be. And when the kids who were down to perform later saw that the first group was doing well, that actually boosted their morale, and almost everyone made it to the final,” she said.

Skippings noted though that there was a foul-up with Tanesia Gardiner, the national high jump record holder, who was simultaneously competing in the high and long jumps. She said the bumble rendered her eliminated from the high jump…an event she was almost sure of medaling in.

“She checked in but did not make her first attempt. She thought that as long as she checked in, when she finished the other event, she would still be able to come back and do her high jump. But because she did not take any attempts, the event carried on without her. So, that was very unfortunate for us in a big way,” Skippings said.

The TCAAA president had high praises for the coaching staff, especially head coach Randy Ford and his assistant Christopher Foster.

“They did a fabulous job in training the kids and keeping them involved during this time of the (COVID-19) pandemic. I also would like to thank the parents for allowing the kids to come out and train. The kids want to come out and train, so we still have to be very cautious,” Skippings said.


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