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Bermuda’s athletes aim to make their mark at Carifta Games

Funding boost: Representatives of Chubb Bermuda present a cheque to Freddie Evans president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, centre, to help towards the expense of sending a team to the Carifta Games. Also pictured are Hazel Clarke, Director of Sports and Business Development for the BErmuda Tourism Authority and young track and field athletes Jaeda Grant, fourth right, Fenella Wightman, Cameron Adkins and J’auza James (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A host of Bermuda’s young track and field athletes are relishing the opportunity to represent the country at the Carifta Games in Bahamas in April.

Five athletes have so far achieved the standard required of them with Jaeda Grant qualified in the 1,500 metres and Elise Dickinson in the 200 metres. Cameron Adkins booked his spot in the 3,000 metres last month, with Jake Brislane and Khazi Sealey making the team at 5,000 metres.

Grant was the island’s first athlete to qualify in December but she is now hoping to hit the standard in a second event.

“It’s great to have already qualified and also a bit of a relief,” she said, speaking yesterday outside the Chubb Stern Bermuda building yesterday, where the insurance firm presented a crop of athletes with a cheque for $10,000 towards their expenses for the Games.

“Having qualified in the 1,500 metres, I’m now trying to do the same in the 800. I’ve been really close to hitting the standard and so I think I can get there. It helps to be able to concentrate on just trying to achieve that.”

Adkins also spoke of his relief while highlighting the significance of the funding boost for the athletes.

“I’m really pleased to have already qualified,” he said. “I’d love to try and get on the podium at the Games, but obviously I know there will be tough competition.

“It’s a big help when we get funding like this because it takes some of the stress away on our part and allows us to just focus on our events and competing.”

Miles Outerbridge should have been added to the list of qualified athletes after comfortably meeting the standard in the men’s under-17 100 metres, only to be denied as a result of a power outage at the Flora Duffy Stadium, with hand times not officially recognised by Carifta.

Despite the disappointment, Outerbridge is determined to use that setback as a catalyst to hit the standard again as part of a nine-member team at the Speed Capital meet in Davey, Florida this weekend.

“When I first saw that I had hit the standard, I was just really excited that I had qualified for the first time” he said. “I then saw that it didn’t count and that was pretty shattering to be honest.

“However, I have confidence that I know I can do it again and I’ll be aiming to do that this weekend, as well as trying to qualify in the 200 metres.”

Fenella Wightman and J’auza James are two athletes who also remain hopeful of meeting the standards in their respective disciplines in the coming weeks.

Wightman is chasing qualification in the under-17 girls 3,000 metres, with James targeting a spot in the eight-event Octathlon.

“I’m think of very capable of doing what I need to qualify,” said James, who due to a lack of competition ahead of the deadline, needs to demonstrate to the Bermuda National Athletic Association that he can compete in four events a day with the ability to score more than 2,000 points.

“Getting the points is not a major concern for me because I know I just have to push myself to my best ability. I know I’m close and so I’m pretty confident of hitting qualification.

“For me it’s game time and I know I need to go hard to make sure I first qualify and then hopefully I can challenge for a medal at the Games.”

Wightman, who won two gold medals at the Carifta Aquathlon in November, believes her past success will stand her in good stead.

“I definitely feel like competing in triathlon has helped me this track season,” said Wightman, who finished eighth in the 1,500 metres at last year’s Games in Jamaica.

“I’ve been putting in some good performances and I’m feeling confident I can meet the qualification time. Last year’s experience was one of the best of my life and I was just so proud to represent Bermuda. It would be a real honour to be able to do that again.”

Freddie Evans, president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association reflected on the impact of the donation towards helping the island’s athletes.

“This sort of donation is amazing and truly a great help,” he said. “We have to thank the Triangle Challenge Committee and sponsors like Chubb who made this possible.

“It will cost around $36,000 to take a team to the Carifta Games and so this certainly helps us get some of the way there. These young athletes are primed to do great things and we have to do all we can to help give them opportunities.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Samantha Froud, the chief administration officer of Chubb’s Bermuda operations.

“We want to see Bermuda’s athletes go off to Carifta and do really well and so we’re excited that the money goes towards them in their endeavours.

“Unfortunately the cost to compete overseas can be extremely high and unfortunately it means that some may not be able to do it. We’re excited that we can help give them that opportunity and enjoy that sort of experience.”

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Published February 22, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated February 23, 2023 at 8:16 am)

Bermuda’s athletes aim to make their mark at Carifta Games

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