Rookies ready for CARIFTA stage

Daujaughn Murray trains for his first CARIFTA Games.

CARIFTA rookies Daujaughn Murray and Ashantae Graham are excited about competing at the 2017 Games in Curacao. They are the only newcomers on a 15-athlete team representing the Cayman Islands at the Caribbean region’s marquee junior athletics championships.

Murray, 16, and Graham, 13, were among the star performers for John Gray High School at the recent Inter-Secondary Track and Field Championships. Murray won individual gold in the 400m and 200m runs for his age group, while Graham dominated the field to win gold in the Girls 12-13 long jump with a mark of 4.65m. caught up with both athletes in the lead-up to the Games. “I’m very excited because I’ve worked so hard,” Graham said.  “I’m glad that I made the qualifying mark and I think I’m going to do well.”

Ashantae Graham competes in the U18 Girls long jump.

Murray said he was eager to compete on the regional stage. “I really want to get the competition and get the push,” he said.

He said he’s pumped up and ready and looking to put his training to use. “I feel like I can do it. I believe in myself and I know that I can get a medal or a PB [personal best],” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of speed work. I used to do the 800m, so my stamina is good but I’ve been working on my strength and speed this year.”

Graham will compete in the same event as CARIFTA veteran Aijah Lewis and said she will rely on her experience. “I’m going to listen to her pointers and let that guide me into a good performance. I want to get a PB,” she said enthusiastically.

Another experienced performer, who they can lean on is Lacee Barnes, the star discus and javelin thrower. “I’ll just give them advice from my first year. My first CARIFTA, I was 13. So, I’m going to give her the usual advice to not be nervous, it’s a big stage but she’ll be fine,” Barnes said.

The team leaves Thursday, 13 April for the 2017 Flow CARIFTA Games that runs 15-17 April.

Ashantae Graham collects a sponsorship cheque for the team from CUC President and CEO Richard Hew.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.