Burke and Jones cruise

Mario Burke (R) easing past closest local rival Ramon Gittens (L).
Photo by George Alleyne

Two of Barbados’ leading young athletes, Jonathan Jones and Mario Burke, did not disappoint by comfortably winning their pet events at the 2019 Athletics Association of Barbados National Championships last weekend.

Competing at the island’s National Stadium athletes met in a competition to select the best athletes for the Lima 2019 Pan-Am Games starting in Peru from July 24, both Jones and Burke eased to victories breasting the tape just below their best times this year, indicating they are holding better performances for next month’s athletic meeting of 41 nations.

Turning out for his local club, Elite Distance, on Saturday Jones clocked 45.69 seconds in the 400 metres. Khamal Cumberbatch of Extreme Velocity Track Club trailed him in second at 46.55 seconds.

During the American National Collegiate Athletic Association 2019 Outdoor Track and field Championships that ended earlier this month, Jones a University of Texas freshman, wiped out Elvis Forde’s 1984 Barbados record of 45.32 seconds in the 400 metres in the NCAA heats and posted a Barbados first sub-45 seconds blast of 44.64 seconds for fourth place in the final Saturday night.

Appearing for the Barbados High-Performance Track Club, Burke ran a wind-assisted 10.24 seconds in the 100-metres and in the process breezed past former two-time Olympian and the island’s Pan American Games silver medallist Ramon Gittens who clocked 10.36 seconds.

In the same NCAA Championships weeks ago Burke, a University of Houston senior, had run a time of 10.98 seconds in the 100 metres heats and appeared set to break the national record of Olympic bronze medal winner, Obadele Thompson’s 9.87 seconds but fell short with a clocking of 10.06 seconds for sixth place in the final.

Thompson’s national record has stood since he copped Barbados’ first Olympic medal in the 2000 games in Sydney.

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