The squad that will represent Jamaica at the North American Central American and Caribbean Under 18 and Under 23 Championships in Costa Rica this weekend is ready to go. That's the indication from team manager Keith Wellington who also expects the Tokyo bound pair of Christopher Taylor and Charokee Young to use the meet to fine tune their preparations for the Olympic Games. 

NACAC U18 U23Speaking before the team's departure for Costa Rica today (Thursday), Wellington said, "this is the first national team that will be participating, representing the country in the past 16, 17 months and so I think that many of our athletes are looking forward to this competition." 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 Carifta Games and the World Under 20 Championships off the calendar and pushed the Olympics into 2021. 

Taylor, Young and 2019 World Championships 400 metre hurdles semi-finalist Shiann Salmon lead the Under 23 contingent and the manager sees them as team leaders. "Talk about Chris Taylor. He is on the Olympic team and will probably get an individual spot but you would want to think that he would come out here and compete and sharpen up for his own performance at the Olympics", he said regarding National Championship 400 metres runner-up Taylor.

After a fine season at Texas A&M University, Young will go to Takoy as part of Jamaica's powerful women's 4 x 400 metres relay unit. "Similarly Charokee would want to give a good individual performance on her way to the Olympics", Wellington extended. 

The outlook from the manager was bright. "I think just the individual pride would ensure that quite a few of them will give of their best and I think they are in good enough shape to do really well for the country", he previewed. The luminaries could also include under 18 sprinter Tina Clayton of Edwin Allen High School and star hurdler Ackera Nugent, who is part of the Under 23 team.

When the meet was last held, Jamaica won 5 gold, 6 silver and 5 bronze medals in the Under 23 category and 15 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze in the Under 18 category. 

One name who will not be in Costa Rica is US bred sprinter Davonte Burnett who has run 10.05 seconds for the 100 metres. "He has a little injury and I think that he wants to focus on preparation for the Olympics", Wellington reported.

Wellington, who is also the President of ISSA, the governing body for high school sport, is pleased to see so many familiar names on the team. "To see them matriculate, some of them would have their experiences at ISSA, at high school to move forward as a professional while others are still in school and making use of their talent to pay for their education, just to see so many of them having benefited from our system and continuing to make a contribution to their country while going as an individual, it makes you feel proud, like a proud parent", he smiled.


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