The leading ladies in the 16-19 Triathlon riding hard along the Errol Barrow Highway on their way back to the Aquatic Centre. Llori Sharpe leads the pack and that is exactly how she would finish, Female 16-19 Triathlon winner in a time of 1:11:29.22.

Inaugural CARIFTA T&A Championships off to great start

Perfect overcast conditions greeted the first ever competitors of the CARIFTA Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships at the Aquatic Centre yesterday, and the athletes gave of their best in response to nature’s gift of a day.

The oldest of the competitors – 16-19 – got under way for Day 1 of the two-day competition at 6 a.m. with the Females and Males Triathlon. It was a tough start for many in the 750m swimming section, around the buoys in the competition size Aquatic Centre pool. The sheer size of the group resulted in some bunching, which in turn caused some of the athletes to have to grapple for position and many a kick to the face and arm could be seen from the side.

From there it was to the transition station to hop on to the bikes for the 20km road race. After laps around the Garfield Sobers and Graeme Hall roundabouts, four Trinidadians and a sole United States Virgin Island athlete entered the transition area first for the change to running gear for the 5kms ahead. It was a sprint to the finish between Leynce Gossec of Guadeloupe and Dominic Pugliese of USVI. Gossec had just enough in the tank to out run Pugliese to the finish and became the first winner of the CARIFTA Championships, breaking the tape in a time of 1:08:33.78.

In third place behind Pugliese, who finished in 1:08:39.50, was Ayomide Gilbert-Semper of Trinidad and Tobago, crossing the line in 1:08:48.71. Gossec was happy to have won the first event despite making an error in the swim, where he swam past the exit to the next stage and caused him to come out the pool a behind.

“I was a little worried after the mistake in the pool but after I got on the bike, I decided to forget about it completely and go full speed,” he said.

Jamaica’s Llori Sharpe looked a force to be reckoned with on the course, especially the running segment of the 16-19 race. She finished strong to win by almost two minutes in the female race, in a time of 1:1129.22, and also finished 7th overall. In second and 8th overall was Chrismaldy Robert of Guadeloupe in a time of 1:13:16.41; while Rachel Grosberg of Trinidad & Tobago was third in 1:15:46.55. Afterwards, Sharpe said that it was a very challenging race under ideal conditions and that it was easier after the swimming.

“The swimming was the most challenging with all the congestion and all the people kicking in your face and all that chaos,” Sharpe stated.

She added that it was easier once out of the pool where she got on the bike and into a group and used drafting to help throughout the ride.

The first Barbadian home was Edward van Anroojj in a time of 1:16:07.34, finishing in 8th place for in the male category. Rebecca Lashley came home strong in the women’s category for Barbados, placing 7th as the first local girl to finish in a time of 1:26:33.27. Both athletes said that it was a very tough race. Lashley was great in the swim, coming out fifth overall after the swim, while Anroojj – formerly of the Netherlands, – had his weakest segment in the swim but recovered well in the end.

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