NAAA boss hails TT women’s athletes

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PRESIDENT of the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette, yesterday heaped praise on the national female athletes after some fine performances at the NGC/Sagicor NAAA National Senior Championships held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, last weekend.

Michelle-Lee Ahye’s victories in the women’s 100m and 200m events, a gold medal run by Jereem Richards in the men’s 200m and the all-star lineup in the men’s 400m event were among the highlights of the weekend.

“I think overall we had a great championships this year. The athletes came home and they really performed. We had a couple championship records as well as national records so that says a whole lot,” Serrette said. Ahye broke Kelly-Ann Baptiste’s women’s 100m national record of 10.84 seconds when she ran a blistering 10.82. Richards was another athlete in record-breaking form, smashing the men’s 200m championship record with a time of 20.15.

Serrette made special mention of Ahye’s excellent showing on Saturday and Sunday, completing the sprint double. “Michelle-Lee is also coming off injury and she has continued to be consistent, so to put down a performance of 22.50 in the 200m and then the 10.82 (in the 100m) on Saturday is great. This year our females were outstanding.” Some of the other women who performed exceptionally were Baptiste (silver - 100m), Khalifa St Fort (bronze - 100m), Kayelle Clarke (silver - 200m), Semoy Hackett (bronze - 200m) and Domonique Williams (gold - 400m).

The top three 100m women sprinters (Ahye, Baptiste and St Fort) all registered World Championship qualifying times in the record-breaking final. In comparison, only men’s 100m sprint champ Emmanuel Callender clocked the qualifying time for London in their final, crossing the line in 10.10 seconds. Keston Bledman, who was a disappointing second in 10.15, had stopped the clock at 10.08 in the prelims.

The qualifying standard is 10.12.

It was a similar scenario in the women’s 200m final with Ahye, Kamaria Durant and Hackett achieving the qualifying standard, In the men’s equivalent, only Richards and Kyle Greaux made the time.

After failing to get the baton around at the IAAF/BTC World Relays in April, the women’s 4x100m team got much needed practice, clocking 42.94. The team included Ahye, Baptise, Reyare Thomas and Kamaria Durant.

Serrette said the National Championships were important for the women’s 4x100m relay team. “We had the women’s 4x100 team. Everybody knows they did not get the stick around at the World Relays, so they had to get a time in order to be in the top 16 for London (World Championships).” The time on Sunday placed the TT women fourth for the year on the IAAF relay listing, and the time places TT ninth overall based on the times from the IAAF relays.

He also praised Richards (gold) and Greaux (silver) for an excellent contest in the men’s 200m.

Serrette said the TT athletes still have time to qualify for the World Championships. “The thing that people need to understand is that the athletes still have until July 23 to do qualifiers (for World Championships). The (National) Championships is one of the criteria for selection. We would have used that for head-to-head and so on.” The NAAA president said the TT athletes are in with a great chance at the World Championships.

“When everybody gets there then you would know.

There is no medal with anybody’s name on it.”

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