By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Bahamas got a chance to produce times for three relay teams for the first time this year heading into the Olympic Games, while individual qualifiers - hurdler Pedrya Seymour and sprinter Tynia Gaither - are preparing for their trip to Tokyo, Japan, this summer.
The performances, along with sprinter Teray Smith, quarter-miler Alonzo Russell and jumpers Tamara Myers and Kendrick Thompson, came at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) New Life Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Florida, on Saturday.
NACAC provided an opportunity for relay teams in the region, who didn’t get a chance to go to the World Relays in Poland earlier this year, to get a chance to post a team for consideration for a lane at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
It also enabled those athletes, who didn’t have a chance to go overseas to compete in the international events staged in Europe, to compete and also attain the standard for the Olympics, scheduled for July 23 to August 8, before the deadline at the end of the month.The Bahamas men’s team of Wendell Miller, Michael Mathieu, Wanya McCoy and Alonzo Russell won the 4 x 400m relay in three minutes and 03.51 seconds. Mexico, the only other team entered, trailed in 3:04.17.
In the women’s 4 x 100m, the quartet of Denisha Cartwright, Tynia Gaither, Pedrya Seymour and Paige Archer ran 44.41 for second place behind Trinidad & Tobago, who won in 43.96.
However, they were the only two countries who participated.
And in the men’s 4 x 100m relay, Karon Dean, Keanu Pennerman, Ian Kerr and Kendrick Thompson had to settle for fourth in 40.49. Jamaica won in 39.22, followed by Trinidad & Tobago A and B teams in 39.75 and 40.30 respectively.
Pedrya Seymour, coming off her 7th place finish in the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.57 at the Wanda Diamond League in Gateshead on May 23, was third on Saturday in 12.81, but if it wasn’t wind-aided, it would have surpassed the Olympic qualifying time of 12.84.
Nigerian Tobi Amusan won in 12.44 and Andrea Vargas of Costa Rica was second in 12.76.
“It was a good performance, but I’m not feeling ready to compete and execute,” said Seymour, who qualified for the Olympics prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. “Before or at other meets, I was still learning and working on a few things, so I was thinking a lot in races instead of just competing.
“Today was the first time this season I was actually able to run freely. I had a great time competing with the 4 x 100m ladies. We prayed before we ran that we would qualify and just build chemistry. We got part of the job done. This trip was so much fun just being around Bahamians.”
Seymour, who is training out of Alabama, said it was so good to see so many Bahamians cheering them on. For her, it felt like a mini Carifta Games.
In the women’s 200m, Tynia Gaither was fourth in 23.10, the time as third place finisher Jodie Williams of Great Britain.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson won in 22.54 with Kyra Jefferson of the USA coming in second in 22.77 as they both went under the Olympic qualifying time of 22.80.
Gaither, 28, also competed in the heats of the 100m, running the sixth fastest qualifying time of 11.19 as Thompson emerged on top of the field in 10.92. The times were wind-aided in the heats as they went over the allowable reading +2.1m/per second.
However, Gaither didn’t contest the final as Thompson took the tape in a legal time of 10.87 with the next three other finishers joining her in running below the Olympic qualifying time of 11.15.
The others were American Tianna Bartoletta (10.96), Jamaican Brianna Williams (10.97) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ayhe (11.04).
“It was really good. It was good to be around the team. It was a really good meet,” Gaither stated. “I enjoyed it. I’ve been competing a lot these past few weeks, so I just wanted to use this meet as training.
“I’m not where I want to be as far as my fitness goes. I’ve doubled a lot in the past few meets, so I just decided today to run the preliminaries of the 100m and sit the final out if I made it and just try to focus on the 200m.”
The men’s 200m saw Grand Bahamian Teray Smith pick up third place in 20.92. American Deveon Collins won in 20.73, while Kyle Greaux was second in 20.84. The men’s half-lap times, however, were wind-aided, going over the allowable reading of +2.1m/s
“It was good to compete in a regional meet. It was my first professional race for the season. I’ve been dealing with a little hamstring/hip injury for the past two months, but it’s good to come and compete and feel no pain,”: Smith said.
“So I’m just trying to get myself prepared for the nationals. I didn’t have any time in mind. I just wanted to execute my race and finish and move onto the3 next one because of the leg injury. So finishing healthy is good enough for me.”
The 26-year-old, now training with MVP International in Boca Raton, Florida under Bahamian coach Henry Rolle, said his ultimate goal is to come home for the nationals and qualify for the Olympics.
In the men’s 400m, Grand Bahamian Alonzo Russell got third in 46.44. Trinidad & Tobago’s Deon Lendore won in 45.58 and American Lashawn Merritt was second in 46.22. Neither of the competitors did the Olympic standard of 44.90.
In the men's 110m hurdles, Xavier Coakley missed out of a place in the finals when he placed ninth in the preliminaries in 14.08. American Michael Dickson had the fastest qualifying time of 13.37 before he took the final in 13.16, both wind-aided.
On the field, Tamara Myers soared 45-feet, 10 1/2-inches for third place in the women’s triple jump. While her performance was legal, Ana Tima of the Dominican Republic cleared 46-10 1/4 (14.28m) and American Amani Oliver did 46-2 (14.06m) for first and second, but they were both wind-aided.
And in the men’s long jump, Kendrick Thompson did 23-5 1/4 (7.14m) as American Demarcus Simpson won with 26-5 1/2 (8.06m), but all of the marks in the competition were wind-aided.