Abilene Wildcats’ Shakeem McKay dominates NAAA tryouts
SHAKEEM McKay, who represented TTO in the men’s 200 meters at the World Under-20 Athletics Championship in Kenya last year, qualified again to lead the country in the same event in August.
The 18-year-old dominated both the semi-final and final of the Boys U-20 200m scoreboard on Sunday, the second and final day of the National Association of Athletics Administration’s Carifta Trials. TT (NAAA) at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
The Abilene Wildcats clinched gold in 21.38 seconds, dipping well under the respective Carifta Games and World Under-20 Championships in Athletics qualifying standards of 21.92 and 21.40 seconds.
Getting used to both competing and winning, McKay said, “I didn’t feel any pressure” after the final. “I just trust and believe in all the hard work I put in in training, and I went out and performed,” he said.
McKay, who is primarily a 200m sprinter, said he only runs the long distances in training to build his abilities in his preferred shorter distances.
McKay improved his personal best in the semifinals, clocking 21.12 seconds, but with a wind assist of +4.9 seconds.
Last month, McKay posted qualifying times for the Carifta Games in the men’s U-20 200m and 400m events at the third round of NAAA track and field. Keone John of the Memphis Pioneers won the silver medal in 21.79 seconds and Jaden De Souza of Phoenix Athletics was third in 21.92 seconds. John and De Souza also achieved Carifta qualifying standards for their efforts.
The top three riders entered the final after posting faster times in the semis, but with considerable help from the wind.
Daeshaun Cole of the Abilene Cats won the penultimate race, the Boys Under-17 200m, in 22.30 seconds, followed by Kaiyin Morris of the Cougars in 22.40 seconds, both dipping below the standard of Carifta qualification of 22.44 seconds.
Kyah La Fortune won the final women’s U-20 event of the day, the 200m, in 24.63 seconds, just short of the Carifta qualifying standard (27.37 seconds).
Zenith’s Alexxe Henry won the U-17 equivalent in 25.15 seconds.
Aniqah Bailey (One A Week) and Kayleigh Forde (Cougars) placed first and second respectively in the Girls U-17 800 race, both dipping below the Carifta standard of two minutes, 24.84 seconds, with Bailey snatching the gold in 2:21.27 and Forde winning silver in 2:24.05.
Rinaldo Moore of the Memphis Pioneers dominated the U-20 boys’ 400m hurdles, beating his nearest challenger by more than eight seconds.
Moore took the gold in 55.27 seconds, just short of the Carifta qualifying standard of 54.33 seconds.
In a rare qualification among men’s field events, Aaron Antoine of Neon Wolves broke the two-metre qualifying standard for the Junior Pan American Championships and Carifta Games, when he cleared 2.10m to win the gold in the U-20 high jump.
D’Abadie’s Adrianna Quamina, meanwhile, fell below the Carifta qualifying standard (33.15m) in the U-17 girls’ discus throw (1kg), with her gold medal effort of 33.70m .
National triathlete Troy Llanos, representing Fatima College, narrowly missed the Carifta qualifying standard (1:56.28) in the under-20 800m race, when he won the event in 1: 56.71.
Some 19 athletes achieved qualifying standards for the Carifta Games on Saturday.