Barbadians will most remember the 2018 Carifta games, not for maintaining their place as the number four Caribbean athletic nation, or for the three gold medals earned, but for the man who almost erased a record of the legend, Usain Bolt.
On March 31, the second day of the event at the Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas, Kyle Gale, of Barbados burst into what he and all fans thought was the record books by breasting the tape first in the Under-17 Boys’ 400 metres with a new time of 47.07 seconds, eclipsing Bolt’s 47.33 seconds set in 2002.
The jubilation among the Barbadian contingent to the games, and more so the joy that spread across Barbados at the Saturday evening feat, was erased next morning with the news that Gale was penalised and disqualified for stepping on the inside line of his Lane Five a few times on the curve and coming off the curve while entering the home straight.
It was major blow for the entire island as Gale demonstrated so much power in the race that he left his closest competitor way behind, as is evidenced by the time of Avindale Smith who placed second in 47.75 seconds.
With Gale’s disqualification, Smith of Trinidad became the gold medal winner.
Gale displayed a determination that should take him far in athletics and showed that he is a man to watch, by shrugging off a disappointing miss on what could have been a spectacular record and earning a silver medal in the boys Under-17 hurdles the next day.
Barbados maintained its position in the Caribbean athletics pecking order of number four among 14 contesting nations by copping 13 medals that include three gold, five silver and five bronze.
Traditional powerhouse Jamaica amassed 82 medals, of which 44 were gold, 27 silver and 11 bronze to retain its top position.
Hosts Bahamas, who had set their sights on toppling the Jamaicans had to settle for second with 25 medals including six gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze.
Trinidad and Tobago emerged third with 17 medals, including four gold, six silver and seven bronze.