It was gold, silver and bronze for St Lucia at this year’s CARIFTA Games in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium which ended Easter Monday.
Junior Sportsman of the Year Marbeq Edgar emerged as a double medallist capturing silver in the Under-20 Boys1500m (4:01.75) and bronze in the 800 m (1:51.74). In other results, Talberc Poleon placed fourth in the Under-20 Boys 400m, Jovan Stephen fifth in the Under-20 Boys 200 m. He also posted a time of 10.77 in the 100 m but did not make it through to the finals. Darren Defreitas recorded a distance of 6.55 m in the Under-20 Boys long jump and finished 11th, while Natasha Poleon did not qualify for the finals of the Under-17 Girls 400 m.
The big story though was the performance by St Lucia’s Junior Sportswoman of the Year, Jeannelle Scheper who again soared to new heights in another record breaking performance.
Scheper owned a clutch of CARIFTA medals coming into her final year as a junior, but no gold. After setting a Caribbean record in Under-20 high jump earlier this year, Scheper was a clear cut favourite at CARIFTA. She had cleared 1.91m during the indoor season competing for University of South Carolina and was an NCAA Indoor silver medallist.
At CARIFTA gold was clearly on her mind and she delivered in a big way. Scheper won the gold in record breaking fashion (1.87), finishing ahead of Akela Jones (Barbados) who was second and third place finisher Thea LaFond (Dominica). They both cleared 1.80 m.
Scheper erased a decade old mark established by two young ladies—one of them being compatriot Levern Spencer who is a professional and world ranked in the event. The previous record was also set by Peaches Roach. At the 2003 Games in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, Spencer cleared 1.86m to set the meet record. On that occasion, she did not get gold as Jamaica’s Peaches Roach also cleared that height and got the gold on countback. A decade later Scheper is all alone at the top of the record books, climbing to the top of the rostrum in white, black, gold and cerulean blue.
At CARIFTA Scheper opened at 1.76m and needed two tries each to clear her first two heights but at 1.80m she went over on her first attempt. Scheper and Jones passed at 1.82m, and the St Lucian won the competition on her second trial at 1.84m, before taking two jumps to set the record.
Thereafter, Scheper attempted the World Championships B qualifying mark of 1.92m which Spencer surpassed this season. The South Carolina junior was unable to get to the mark this time out, but she will surely be well satisfied with her day’s work.
As expected Jamaica topped the medal table with 29 gold, 25 silver and 15 bronze for a total of 69. Bahamas was next with eight gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze (31) followed by Trinidad & Tobago with eight gold, two silver and 10 bronze (20).