L-R: Dean Greenaway, Ephraim Penn, Rey O'Neal

L-R: Dean Greenaway, Ephraim Penn, Rey O’Neal

by Dean ‘The Sportsman’ Greenaway

TORTOLA, BVI, June 29, 2016 – Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×400 metres Relay quartet have been added to the line-up at the 2nd staging of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Track and Field Championships this weekend in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

With the addition of Trinidad & Tobago, BVI Athletics Association officials are now expecting 184 visiting athletes and officials for the two-day championships this weekend.

With the July 11 window for qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro closing, the competition has become a last chance qualifier for Rio, with a mouth-watering display of talent at the A. O. Shirley Grounds on Saturday and Sunday.

All nine OECS territories – Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and hosts BVI—will be joined by non-OECS Members, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago, making the meet the biggest to ever be staged in the BVI.

On a programme already filled with hot action, Saturday’s 4x100m Relays are sure to be barn burners when Rio qualifiers Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts-Nevis and Barbados men line up on Big Blue, with all three teams having run under 38.68 seconds.

St Kitts-Nevis, which is among the eight teams automatically qualified for Rio by virtue of a finals berth in the IAAFOECS T&F Champs 2016 World Relays last year, will bring their 38.76 average from two races into the competition. Antigua and Barbuda, already assured a spot in Rio with their 38.07 average, is ranked as the #10 team heading into Rio.

Barbados at #17 with their 38.60 average will need a time of 38.59 seconds to bump Cuba from the #16 spot and book their ticket to Rio.

Saturday’s Women’s 4 x 100m Relay will be no less appealing with Puerto Rico, St Kitts-Nevis and the BVI as the headliners. Puerto Rico with their 43.53 seconds average is the #16 team in the rankings and will be seeking to hold on to that sport for Rio.

The BVI, who will bring a 44.05 seconds time into the field, will be joined by OECS record holders St Kitts-Nevis.

With Trinidad and Tobago needing a time of three minutes 28.63 seconds to qualify, the Women’s 4x400m on Sunday evening will definitely see the 20-year-old All Comers record of 3:45.12 established by a St Kitts-Nevis quartet going out the window.

The Trini’s will be looking to move from #20 to #16 for a spot in Rio and comes into the competition with their 3:32.25 average from a year ago. They will certainly get competition from Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and hosts BVI and if Puerto Rico enters, it makes it another track burner.

An opening ceremony is set for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday with action kicking off at 4:00 p.m. both days.

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