Bermuda claim 13 medals to cap successful home Carifta
Bermuda’s athletes finished an impressive Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Relay Championships campaign with a total of 13 medals.
Fenella Wightman led the island’s charge, winning two individual golds in the girls’ 13-15 triathlon and aquathlon, while also clinching silver as part of the four-person Bermuda 1 mixed relay team.
Her second gold, in yesterday’s aquathlon, came as part of a Bermuda one-two, as she finished just six seconds clear of compatriot Marleigh Howes, who exited the water first after the 500-metre swim before ultimately having to hold off the challenge of the fast-finishing Nina James, of Grenada, in a gutsy display in the 2.5-kilometre run to finish second.
“Before the race I really didn’t have any expectations because I’m not a strong runner so overall I’m really pleased with silver,” said Howes.
“I knew Fenella was going to catch me on the run because she’s just an incredible athlete. We told each other great job as she passed me and we smiled to one another, I was just happy it was one of my Bermuda team-mates who passed me.
“I pushed so hard on the run, my legs have never hurt so much. My coaches were screaming at me that there was another girl behind me and so even though I was tired, I’m super competitive, so I just attacked again and pushed myself.
“It’s crazy being on the podium in a home event. It’s an incredible feeling that I’ve won a medal.”
The final day of the championships kicked off in encouraging fashion when Daria Desmond claimed bronze in the 16-21 aquathlon.
It had looked as if she was on course to clinch gold after an incredible 1000-metre swim resulting in her starting the 5km run with a 1min 37sec advantage over the rest of the field but her efforts in the water ultimately told as that lead had been cut by more than a minute by the end of the first lap with Kaya Beadle, of Trinidad & Tobago, leading the chase.
As Desmond faded, Beadle seized the initiative, passing the Bermudian to claim victory ahead of Jamaica’s Rihanna Gayle.
“I pushed so hard in the swim because I knew I had to try and get as far ahead as possible on the run,” said Desmond. “When I got out of the water I thought I had a good chance of winning but obviously after pushing so hard in the swim my legs just died on the run.
“However, I’m just really pleased to get third and to be on the podium representing Bermuda in a home event, that’s really exciting.”
There was also an impressive performance from Connor Hupman to add another silver medal from the boys’ 13-15 aquathlon.
Having exited the water in fifth place as part of a five-strong chase group behind Bahama’s Malcolm Menzies, Hupman quickly set about closing the gap on the run.
While the Bermudian athlete passed Menzies, he ultimately had to settle for silver, finishing 23 seconds behind Luke McIntyre of Barbados, with Aruba’s Christiaan Janssen completing the podium places.
The medals continued to flow when siblings Gaby and Joey Cechini both won bronze in their respective 11-12 aquathlon races.
Building on a strong swim after coming out of the water in second place behind compatriot Tallulah Bonard, Gaby held on in a spirited run to finish behind a Barbados one-two of Hailey Banfield and laila McIntyre. Bonard finished a highly respectable fifth.
In a close fought boys’ race, Joey held his position from the swim, to finish third behind Zindzele Renwick-Williams of Bahamas and Aruba’s Jeon Fernandes.
There was disappointment for Bermuda’s Dominic Wright, who led out of the water but failed to finish the race, pulling out during the run.
The day was capped off with further medal delight as the Bermuda 1 team of Jamie Bedford, Bonard, Jacob Wright, and Wightman finished second in the mixed team relay.
In a race that firmly belonged to Aruba 1, who won by a comfortable margin of slightly more than a minute, Bermuda clinched silver, with Wightman chasing down her rival from Barbados in the final run.
The race also featured the welcome return of Tommy Marshall to the start line.He endured a difficult triathlonon Saturday, in which he was involved in a clash during the swim leg and ultimately pulled out during the run.
On that first day of action, Bermudian athletes also made a huge impression in the individual triathlon events.
Notably among them was Jens Drea, who made up a remarkable 18 places after the swim leg to win a silver medal in the boys race for 11-12 year-olds.
Drea exited the water 19th of the 22 competitors but made storming progress through the field to finish runner-up behind Renwick-Williams of the Bahamas. In the same race, Bermuda’s Sanchez Smith finished fourth with Makao Butterfield fifth.
Jamie Bedford had earlier won Bermuda’s first medal of the day, finishing third in the boys’ 16-19 age group, while a strong Bermudian effort in the boys 13-15 category just came up short with Jake Smith, Jacob Wright and Oliver Hayward finishing sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.