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Youngsters ready for Trinidad

Trinidad bound: Members of the Bermuda team that will compete in the Nacac Age Group Championships this weekend. Left to right: Anaya, Za’Kayza Parsons, Sancho Smith and Nirobi Mills. Missing is Selah Tuzo who was sick yesterday. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Five up-and-coming Bermuda athletes will get the chance to pit themselves against outstanding promising athletes from around the Caribbean when they compete at the NACAC Age Group Championships in Trinidad this weekend.

It is a meet with a difference with the athletes competing in several different events over the two days. Anaya West, the lone 11-12 competitor, will compete in five events, the 60 metres, 800 or 1,000 metres, long jump, high jump and baseball throw while the 13-14 competitors — Selah Tuzo, Za’Kayza Parsons, Sancho Smith and Nirobi Mills — will compete in seven events, the 80 metres, 1,000 or 1,200 metres, 60 or 80 metres hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot and baseball throw.

Donna Raynor, president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, says it will be good competition for the youngsters as a crucial time in their track and field development.

“Bermuda has entered in this competition before and won the 13-14 year old with Jordan Bascome, and also placed in the last competition in the 11-12 age group,” Raynor said yesterday.

Parsons, a sprinter, and middle distance runner Tuzo competed in various events during the National Championships on Saturday, with Parsons winning the under-17 100 metres, 60 metre hurdles, under-17 high jump and placing second in the long jump and shot on the way to being crowned champion in her age group. Tuzo was seventh in the 100 metres, second in the 60 metres, third in the high jump, fourth in the long jump and third in the shot.

“I’m quite excited with Za’Kayza, in winning the hurdles she looked very, very good, while Selah also performed well, surprising herself,” Raynor said. “Anaya ran a personal best in the 100 metres and surprised all of us on Saturday when he ran 12.70 seconds.

“Unfortunately, Sanch had pain in his ankle and didn’t want to risk it, so he didn’t compete, but he has been competing very well in all the events in the meets previously. I’m excited about the team and think they are going to perform very well. Most of them have improved significantly since they started.”

Most of the youngsters are trying different events for the first time, Raynor noted.

“I watched these athletes perform at the recent track meet and was very impressed with the athletes’ performances,” she said. “They look very promising and will be competitive. They have only been doing hurdles for the last three weeks and they looked very good going over the hurdles. In all the events their times and distances have improved so I’m looking for some good results.

“We are very grateful to the coaches Joyann Clarke and Kerry Maxwell for putting in the work with these athletes.

“We have also had a lot of financial support from various persons to make sure this team is able to travel to this event.”

Added Raynor: “The reason they started the NACAC Age Group was because they wanted countries to be able to look at athletes 11, 12, 13 and 14 and find events that they do well in.

“We watched Sancho going over the hurdles in the last track meet before the Nationals and he looked good, and has only had three weeks of training.

“You may discover that an athlete is a good high jumper. Jordan ended up doing the heptathlon at Carifta and somebody like Za’Kayza looks like she could be a heptathlete. She is good in all the events, even the 1,000 metres.”

The team leave Bermuda tomorrow and will compete on Saturday and Sunday before returning on Monday.

Team: Anaya West (boys 11-12), Selah Tuzo (girls 13-14), Za’Kayza Parsons (girls 13-14), Nirobi Mills (boys 13-14), Sancho Smith (boys 13-14).