The 2015 Arima Invitational Games ended in anticlimactic fashion at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, yesterday.
The main event on the programme was the women’s 200 metres, featuring Semoy Hackett in her first race since completing a 28-month doping ban on April 30. But with natural light fading fast, and no sign of the floodlights coming on, completing the 33-event programme following a late start was always going to be a challenge.
The announcer called the names of the sprinters expected to the face the starter in the women’s half-lap. Included among them was Hackett. But the anticipation was short-lived. At 6.38pm, with the stadium enveloped in darkness, Games chairman Ainsley Armstrong informed the crowd that the rest of the meet had been cancelled.
No women’s 200m. No Semoy Hackett comeback race.
“I understand for the last five-six years,” Armstrong told the Express, “there haven’t been lights at the Larry Gomes Stadium. And that is sad, that every sporting activity in Arima has to finish by 5.30. Next year I have to make the adjustments to start the meet at one o’clock so we wouldn’t have that light issue.
“I really wanted to see Semoy run,” Armstrong lamented.
Before the lights—or lack of lights—brought the curtain down on the Games, St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Brijesh Lawrence emerged as champion in the men’s 100m dash.
Halfway through the century, Lawrence and Barbadian Ramon Gittens were tussling for the lead. It was Lawrence who had the edge on the day, taking the title in 10.20 seconds. Gittens got to the line in 10.24 to claim silver.
T&T’s 2002 100m world junior champion and 2003 IAAF World Championship silver medallist in the same event, Darrel Brown battled to the line, but was unable to challenge the top two, and had to settle for bronze in 10.32 seconds.
Gloria Asumnu captured the women’s 100m title. Asumnu stamped her class early-on, taking the lead in the eight-woman race. The Nigerian sprinter stayed well in front of her rivals to secure a comfortable victory in 11.44 seconds.
T&T’s Kamaria Durant was next best, the 2014 IAAF World Relays 4x100m bronze medallist earning Arima Invitational Games silver in 11.60. Jamaican Audrea Segree clocked 11.68 to take home bronze.
Jernail Hayes was the class of the women’s 400m field, winning in 53.33 seconds, from her fellow-American, Brandi Cross (54.01). Bronze, meanwhile, went to T&T’s Romona Modeste, in 55.09.
For three-quarters of the race, Modeste was very competitive. On the home straight, though, she faded out of contention. In stark contrast, Hayes finished strong, storming to an impressive victory.