Invictus Reggae Classic is great first step

Jaden Francis runs away with the Girls 17&under 200m.

The inaugural Invictus Reggae Classic Track and Field Meet had a different flair about it. Though it was not sanctioned by the Cayman Islands Athletics Association, it had a professional vibe about it.

Scores of athletes turned out for the two-day affair from 9-10 July at Truman Bodden Sports Complex, including Special Olympics Cayman Islands and representatives from Immigration and the Fire Service.

“It had a flow to it and the people enjoyed themselves,” said Delroy Murray, the president of Invictus Sports Academy and the main man behind the meet.

He said the decision to have Special Olympics athletes go under the starter’s gun at the same meet as other athletes is part of the inclusive nature of his track club.

“The involvement of Special Olympics was very well accepted and well received. We certainly enjoyed our partnership with that body,” he told, adding that he may look to expand that relationship next year.

Murray also said having the Fire Service and Immigration added “a tremendous dimension” to the meet.

“It is good to see people who come to compete for the fun, more so than anything else. They’re glad they won but more importantly, is that they enjoyed themselves.”

Sports though is about competition, and the meet allowed young stars like Rianna Rankin of Mustang Track Club and Falcon Athletics’ Bradley Erskine Jr to give their best.

More seasoned junior athletes like Daneliz Thomas and Aijah Lewis, who will compete at the NatWest Island Games in Gotland, Sweden later this month, also got a chance to fine-tune their preparations in a competitive setting. Thomas comfortably won the javelin, while Lewis had the furthest leap the long jump.

The main event featured top middle-distance runner Dominic Dyer lining up to face competition from two challengers from Kingston College in Jamaica in the form of Rogers Aryamanya and Shane Buchanan for the 1,500m and 3,000m.

“We had to bring somebody down to run against Dominic. Otherwise, he would have just run away with it,” Murray said.

On the first evening, Dyer was pushed but the 345 Athletic Club runner won the 1,500m comfortably in 4:05.98, with the KC pair trailing him to the line. The feat was repeated the next day in the longer event. This time, Dyer kicked with a lap to go to open up a 10-second lead that he never surrendered to win in 9:02.76.

“It was a tough challenge. It was great that Invictus invited two boys from Kingston College… it was nice to have people to run with – not the usual ‘me against the clock’. I could try out some tactics, which is good for competitions like Island Games coming up,” said Dyer.

Other big winners of the meet included:

Girls 9 & under: Krystal Campbell (Mustang Track Club) – 100m, 200m

Boys 9 & under: Tarique Beckford (Sir John A Cumber Primary School) – 100m, 200m

Girls 11 & under: Mikayla Brown (Sir John A Cumber Primary School) – long jump, 200m

Boys 11 & under: Kristoff Clarke (Falcon Athletics) – 100m, 200m,

Girls 13 & under: Rianna Rankin (Mustang Track Club) – long jump

Girls 13 & under: Aaliyannah Anderson (Mustang Track Club) – 200m

Boys 13 & under: Bradley Erskine Jr (Falcon Athletics) – long jump, 100m, and 200m

Boys 15 & under: Diondre Wright (Mustang Track Club) – 100m, 200m

See full results: isa_track_and_field_meet_2017.

In the end, Murray was eager to find areas to tweak and make better for a second go around. Though he was exhausted from being chief organiser and taking on the task of keeping the meet alive as stadium announcer, the Invictus president was all smiles as he looked to the future. “We have a start, we’ll improve on it and we’re looking forward to next year,” he said.

Issues that affected the start of the meet will be covered in a separate article.

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