CARIFTA GOLD BONANZA FOR BARBADOS
Barbados continued to shine on the regional and international sports scene when a small team showed their mettle at the recent Carifta Triathlon in Bermuda. With a massive point lead, the Bajans soundly trounced teams from around the Caribbean at the event which consisted of a Triathlon, Aquathlon, and Mixed Relay events, for youth from 11 up to 21 years of age.
At the end of the event the 13-member Barbados team had a total point score of 145, and an enviable 8 Golds, for a total of 15 medals, comfortably beating the next placed 43-member Bermuda team at 115 points, with 4 golds and 13 medal total.
Postponed from September due to Hurricane Fiona impacting Bermuda, the packed 2-day event took place in mid-November in the chilly water of Clearwater Beach, Bermuda.
They also led the two Barbados mixed relay teams to Bronze and 4th places. Skinner, now at Queens University, Charlotte, USA continues to compete in the Triathlon and went to Bermuda to join the Bajan team. In the 16-19 females, Isis Gaskin, one of the youngest competitors in this age group, scored a Bronze in her first Carifta Sprint distance race.
In the 13-15 boys age group Luke McIntyre took a convincing Gold in Sunday’s Aquathlon and anchored the Bronze placed relay team, after having suffered a bad fall off his bike in the previous day’s Triathlon. Despite his fall, he managed to get back on his bike and finish the race in a very creditable 4th place. Cain Banfield took Bronze in the Triathlon but had to miss the next day’s events as he was still recovering from a back strain experienced just 2 weeks before Carifta. Both boys will still be in this age category next year and are expected to dominate the competition.
McIntyre and Banfield, training partners for several years, were strong contenders for the podium at this Carifta and despite their challenges, rose to the occasion. Both boys look to have a bright future in elite triathlon, having represented well earlier in the year in the Clermont Draft Legal Challenge in Florida, taking 2nd and 9th places respectively in a field of US national elite 13-15 year olds.
In the 11-12 females, Barbados again conquered the field, with double Golds for Hailey Banfield, and double Silvers for Laila McIntyre in the Triathlon and Aquathlon. Twin sister Ali Banfield, recovering from a cold and a fall off her bike the week before Carifta, took a creditable 4th place in the Triathlon and 6th in the Aquathlon. As these three are still in the first year of the 11-12 age group, another strong showing can be expected in 2023!
With every team member contributing to the overall team points there were great results from 11-year-old Zajara Layne, who only started Triathlon this year but achieved 7th place in the Aquathlon, and Judah Hall-Fox, also a new entrant to Triathlon, with 6th place also in the Aquathlon, as one of the youngest boys in the 13-15 age group.
Solid performances were also recorded by brothers Eric Lashley in the 16-19 age group (5th and 6th in the Triathlon and Aquathlon) and Daniel Lashley, an up-and-coming Junior cyclist, in the 13-15 age group. Although not being regular triathletes currently, both boys stepped in to support the Carifta team with Daniel helping to take the Barbados relay Team B to fourth place amidst a large field of 16 relay teams.
The small but dedicated team were ably managed by parents Cary Banfield and Dr. Garth McIntyre and a small group of parent chaperones, in contrast to the other Caribbean teams who were accompanied by coaches in addition to family members.
Speaking after the event, team manager Cary Banfield expressed his satisfaction with the results “We exceeded our best expectations! We had a small but highly focussed core group who despite some last-minute challenges, showed that they have the ability to take Barbados to the international stage in Triathlon.”
Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes (BFIT) President, Darren Treasure said “This win is not just for the athletes, but a testimony to the parents, who have invested their time and resources to bring their children to this point.” He added, “The amazing achievements of the team in Bermuda demonstrates the benefits of national investment in triathlon, one of the fastest growing international sports, to develop the latent talent here in Barbados.”
Triathlon, which consists of swimming, cycling and running segments, debuted at the Olympics in 2000 and is one of the fastest growing international sports, with related events such as the aquathlon, which consists of a run-swim-run, and duathlon with run-cycle-run.