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Lodge meets standard in Barbados

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Bermuda National Athletics Association president Donna Raynor

Clevonte Lodge helped himself to an early birthday gift after striking gold and meeting the Carifta Games standard at the weekend.

Competing at the annual Louis Lynch Championships held at the National Stadium in Barbados, the Berkeley Institute student won the 400 metres event with a time of 49.38sec.

It got even sweeter for Lodge, who turns 16 next month, as his winning time was inside of the qualifying standard in the under-17 boys’ 400 for the Carifta Games in Bahamas next month.

“Clevonte had a fantastic run in Barbados, especially winning the heats and then turning around and winning the finals and in a time that qualified him for Carifta, which was his goal for travelling to the Barbados meet,” Donna Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president, said.

Lodge was among five local athletes reaching Carifta standards, increasing the overall number to 14.

Also achieving the standard competing overseas was Isabelle Dutranoit, who met the mark in the 3,000 open women’s division at the New England Indoor Championships, with a time of 10:53.14, which was also well under the qualifying mark of 11:15.

“We had received an e-mail from her mom in November informing us that her daughter was interested in the Carifta Games and that she had run a time of 11:11.52 in May of last year, which met the standard,” Raynor said.

“I made her aware that she would have to reach the standard again between January and the closing qualifying date. I was very delighted when she sent me an e-mail over the weekend advising that not only did Isabelle reach the standard but she demolished the time of 11:15.

“Now that she has qualified she can work on lowering her time and preparing for the Games without the added stress of worrying about qualifying.”

Nairobi Mills, Tilda Norman and Jessie Marshall also qualifying for Carifta at a two-day meet at the National Sports Centre at the weekend.

Mills qualified for the under-17 boys’ 800 with a time of 1:59.17, slashing nearly four seconds off of the Carifta qualifying standard of 2:03.

Norman knocked eight seconds off of the qualifying mark to reach the Games standard in the under-17 girls’ 1,500 metres with a time of 4:57.34. She also qualified for the 3,000 in equally convincing fashion with a time of 11:04.55, which was well under the qualifying mark of 11:15.

Marshall reached the Games standard in the under-17 girls’ 1,500 metres as well with a time of 5:02.49.

“These athletes are not just about reaching the standard but are well within the standard,” Raynor said. “I am very pleased thus far. I think we will have a few more athletes reach the standard before the last qualifying date [March 10] as we have so many that are right on the edge of hitting the standard in numerous events.

“I am looking forward to this Carifta as our athletes appear to be really focused this year.”

Bahamas will host the Carifta Games for the eighth time between March 30 and April 2 in Nassau. The Games will bring together about 500 athletes and 150 team officials from 26 countries.

Leading the way: Clevonte Lodge, a Berkeley Institute student, has qualified in the boys’ under-17 400 for the Carifta Games in Bahamas next month (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)