The 2017 Flow CARIFTA Games provided some memorable performances from our junior athletes last month.
One track and field club on the island had two athletes give The Bahamas multiple medals during their time in Wilemstad, Curacao. Holland Martin and Quanisha Marshall, both members of the newly minted Invictus Track and Field Club, returned to the CARIFTA stage and left with five medals combined between the two.
Martin won the silver medal of the boys’ Under 20 long jump, while helping the 4x100 and 4x400-meter teams win silver and bronze respectively. Marshall also found individual success and won a silver medal in the under 20 girls’ 800m final and also helped the under 20 girls win silver in the 4x400m.
Martin also competed in the 200m, while Marshall competed in the 400m but both failed to make it to the finals in those events.
The Freeport News caught up with both athletes once they returned home they all appeared to be in high spirits about their accomplishments.
Martin noted that this was his first year medaling in an individual event. This was Martin’s last year as a CARIFTA athlete. Despite having to compete while battling the flu the Tabernacle Baptist senior felt humble about the way his trip occurred.
“Coming back with the medals I thank God for all that – a lot of training, a lot of hard work, putting in the extra time,” he said, “I came down with the flu but I thank God I was able to actually put the jump in and get the second place. And with the help of coach James (Rolle) because my coach (Caudel McNab) was unable to make it, he just told me to get out, execute my jump that I know I am capable of.”
Martin expressed that being under a coach like McNab is a worthwhile opportunity. Even though McNab could not make the trip to Curacao with Martin, the long jump silver medalist said his coach was not short on words before Martin went off.
“Going into CARIFTA he just told me to keep my head in the game, take out everything, leave all the girls and everything alone and just focus on what I have to do. He knows what I’m capable of and he knows I could bring home the gold. He told me just to clear my mind and stay focused.”
Next for Martin is college, while, “hopefully getting better” as he transitions into becoming a senior competitor.
Initial nerves came over Marshall just before the start of the 800m. Nevertheless there was some motivation for the Bishop Michael Eldon product when she stepped on the track.
“You just want to do your best. You know you’re running against Jamaica and they’re coming with the best of the best and they’re coming with fire. So I just said ‘you know what Quanisha? Go on this track and come out with blood in your eyes because you’re ready for war. So you’re going out there and do your best.’“
She furthered that she really wanted the gold. But, Lord willing, she knows she has one more year left as a CARITA athlete to do so, and also has the chance to do it at home in 2018.
This was also her first year as an Under 20 runner. She knew this year would be a little tougher compared to her Under 18 competition last year. While she did not have much time to rest before running in the 4x400m finals she was happy that team did all that they could do to attain the silver medal.
She credited McNab’s advice in helping her get through that tough last day of competition.
“Coach just taught me a lot of techniques and things to do to help recover quicker…I had the motivation. I had my people come from Freeport to come and cheer me on so I felt I had it in me to do it.”
With some personal goals in mind, Marshall just hopes to see progression in her training moving forward.
Coach McNab said Martin and Marshall responded well to their tasks in Curacao. Like everyone, he said both athletes trained hard and are testament to what the Club teaches in preparing their athletes for events.
“The program is very, very rough. It’s one that prepares them for both endurance and speed. A number of persons question their ability to train athletes other than hurdlers and jumpers but I’ve been equipped for many years to do any event that I find an athlete is adaptive to and it worked again this year.”
McNab further stated in the weeks leading up to the athletes leaving for competition his aim was to physically prepare Martin for his workload while also mentally preparing him. As for Marshall her running the 400m this year was primarily to help her with speed in the 800m. Her training also consisted of alternating and endurance work.
The Invictus Club had not been in existence for a full season but McNab was happy to have two members make the national team. Persons know McNab is a proven coach and parents have the confidence that he can make their children into better athletes.
“One of the things we do is to work on mechanics first. What we’ve found is some of the athletes that come to us their mechanics are a little off. So we try to correct that. We’ve found, which we tell them, if their mechanics are good then your time would be better and you’d be more efficient to run and get better results.”
The Invictus Club trains athletes from the age of 13 and up and train at the YMCA. They have approximately 15 athletes right now and McNab said the goal is to keep the number to a manageable minimum.