by Michael Bascombe
NEW YORK, May 16, 2016 – Olympic champion Kirani James and decathlete Lindon Victor led a series of impressive performances by Grenadian track and field athletes this weekend.
James recorded his third consecutive win over the 400 metres as he continues his preparations to defend his title at the Rio Olympic Games this summer.
He won the Baie Mahault Invitational in Guadeloupe on Saturday in a meet record of 44.15 to beat compatriot Bralon Taplin (44.54) and Javon Francis of Jamaica, who ran a season’s best of 44.77.
On Friday, Victor clinched the Decathlon at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships with a new national record.
Victor scored 8,446 points to better the previous record of 8,302 held by his brother Kurt Felix. His new mark qualifies him for the Olympic Games this summer and a chance to compete with Felix. It will be third time both decathletes will get to compete alongside each other following the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and the Pan-American Games in Toronto last July.
Victor, a junior at Texas A&M University and under coach Alleyne Francique of Grenada, won four of the 10 events and in the process cleared the stadium record (7,752) and SEC Meet Record of 8,326 points.
Over in the Cayman Islands, Kurt Felix continues to fine-tune his preparations for the Olympic Games with a second place finishing in the Men’s Long Jump at the Cayman Islands Invitational on Saturday. Felix completed only three jumps with the best of 7.43 metres but enough to place behind American Mikese Morse who had a winning leap of 7.65m. Kamal Fuller of Jamaica was third with 7.39m.
In Trinidad, Kanika Beckles won the women’s 400m in 54.20 at the Abilene Wildcats Track Classic at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima.
Janelle Redhead returns to competition and won the sprint double at the London Western High Performance Sprint Meet in Ontario, Canada on Sunday.
Redhead finished ahead in the 100m in 12.16 (2.2) and the 200m in 24.92 (3.0). It’s her first competition in two years.
Sherry Fletcher competed in her first race of the season with a third place finish at the Aggie Last Chance at North Carolina AT&T State University on Sunday. Fletcher was timed in the 100m Invitational at 11.74 (0.4), falling behind Barbara Pierre (11.12) and Breana Norman (11.62).
At the same meet, Paul Williams clocked 11.28 in the men’s event.
At Conference USA Championships in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Emron Gibbs of Southern Mississippi had to settle for the second position in the Javelin Throw. Gibbs threw the spear 72.86 metres well short of defending champion and record holder John Ampomah of Middle Tennessee State. Ampomah’s only legal throw was recorded at 77.53m to better his previous meet record of 76.15m.
And the high school athletes also featured with outstanding performances.
CARIFTA Games Under-18 silver medallist Amanda Crawford celebrated her 17th birthday on Saturday with top performances in four events at the 49th Glenn D. Loucks Games in White Plains, New York.
She was second in the 400m (54.54) and third in the 200m (25.04). She also anchored Paul Robeson High School to victory in the 4x400m and second in the 4x100m.
Halle Hazzard, the sister of Payton Hazzard, who represents Grenada, won the 200m in 24.71 competing for St Anthony’s High School of Long Island.
And Malik John, who missed out on representing Grenada at the CARIFTA Games in March, won the double at the CUNYAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Ichan Stadium in New York.
Representing Kingsborough Community College, John picked up victories in the 100m (10.73) and 200m (21.50).