Ashlyn Simmons and Layla Haynes produced glorious gold medal middle-distance performances for Barbados in the evening session of day one of the 50th CARIFTA Games at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
The team won two gold and one silver medal on the opening day of competition.
Running in the first track final of the meet, 16-year-old Simmons executed an excellent race in the Under-17 girls’ 1 500 metres run to strike gold in 4 minutes 51.65 seconds.
Simmons entered the final lap in third position but remained determined and used her experience to ease ahead of the competition. She will relish this sweet victory after her seventh-placed finish in the 1,500 metres last year at CARIFTA 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Haynes followed Simmons with a special performance in the Under-20 girls’ 1500 metres to add gold to her CARIFTA medal cabinet with a winning time of 4:53.29 minutes.
The race started slowly with all competitors closely bunched until the last 250 metres where Jamaicans Kishay Rowe and Jody Ann Mitchell along with Haynes distanced themselves from the other runners. With 150 metres to go, Haynes found herself in third behind the two Jamaicans but not for long as she shifted into a higher gear and sprinted pass both Rowe and Mitchell before dipping confidently at the line to claim her victory.
Haynes has now achieved her CARIFTA medal trifecta with this gold medal which complements her silver and bronze medals in last year’s 800 metres and 1 500 metres respectively.
Under-17 long jumper Aaron Massiah leaped his way to a silver medal by just one centimetre to celebrate Barbados’ third medal of the night.
Massiah occupied the fourth position before his final two jumps, however, the lad remained in constant conversation with coach Ramon Armstrong before springing 6.48 metres to tie and move ahead of bronze medallist Anthony Chin Jr of Cayman Islands.
Massiah further consolidated his position and secured the silver medal with a final effort of 6.49 metres to finish behind gold-medallist Immani Matthew of Trinidad and Tobago whose best effort marked 7.13 metres.
Fourteen-year-old Aniya Nurse finished sixth in the Under-17 girls’ 100 metres final in a time of 12.07 seconds.
In the Under-20 100 metres categories Khristel Martindale came through the line in sixth position in 11.97 seconds while Aragorn Straker ran 10.54 seconds to place fifth.
The Under-17 girls’ 400 metres was unusually concluded as a timed-final with Kadia Rock placing seventh in 57.49 seconds.
Kaden Dowrich-Roach was a non-starter in the Under-17 boys’ equivalent after sustaining an injury while running out of the blocks in a practice start just before the beginning of the race.
Brieanna Boyce finished seventh with a time of 56.37 seconds in the Under-20 girls’ 400 metre finals.
T’Shaun Sealy did not advance to the final of Under-20 boys’ 100 metres after finishing in 10.65 seconds for fourth in the second and final semi-final.