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Anthonique Strachan Wins 2011 CARIFTA Austin Sealy Award
By Alpheus Finlayson, BAAA
May 1, 2011 - 9:54:33 AM

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Bahamian Anthonique Strachan wins the Girls Under-20  2011 Carifta Games 200m. In second place is Shericka jacson of Jamaica. Photo by Dean Greenaway  

It has been sixteen years of waiting. The last Bahamian athlete to capture the Austin Sealy Award for the Most Valuable Athlete of the Carifta Games was Golden Girl Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie. She won the award at the 1995 Games in the Cayman Islands.  

Austin Sealy, the president of the Barbados Amateur Athletic Association, is considered the founder of the Carifta Games, which celebrated it’s 40th edition.  

Ferguson-McKenzie went on to become one of the Golden Girls, anchoring both the Seville World Championships and Sydney Olympic Games 4x100m relay.  

She also won the Gold medal in the 200m at the Edmonton World Championships in 2001, the Bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics as well as the Bronze medal in the 2009 Berlin World Championships.  

On the final evening of competition in the 2011 Lime Carifta Games, sprinter Anthonique Strachan ended the sixteen year old drought. Our prayers were answered!  

Strachan’s performance in the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships of 23.17sec, a world leading time, and her further improvement in the BTC Carifta Trials to 23.06sec gave notice that she was capable of performing well at the 40th Carifta Games in Montego Bay.  

What solidified her choice, we believe, was her performance in the semi-final of the Girls Under-20 200m.  

As Strachan did in the final of the BTC Carifta Trials, she ran as if she was running against herself and the clock. The time was an amazing 22.93sec., an improvement of .13sec. The wind reading was +1.1mps.  

The time tied Veronica Campbell- Brown’s record Carifta record. The record was set in the 2001 Carifta Games in Barbados.

That caused great anticipation as to her possibility in the final. Could she break Campbell-Brown’s record? Campbell -Brown won the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games 200m.  

In the final on the final evening, Strachan won in 23.17sec. The wind was still, with a reading of 0.0mps! This was the identical time she did at the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships.  

With a victory on the 100m in 11.38sec, and the victory in the 200m, the tying of Campbell Brown’s ten year old record would have been the deciding factor. The time is also the best time for a junior athlete in the world so far this year.  

Strachan attends St. Augustine’s College and is a member of Club Monica. Dianne Woodside is her coach at St. Augustine’s and Club Monica.  

We felt that either Strachan or Tynia Gaither, the Silver medalist in this event at the World Youth Olympics last year would have won the award, based upon their performances earlier in the season.  

Anthonique competed in the World Junior Championships last year in Moncton, Canada, where she finished fourth in the semi-final of the 200m in 23.99sec. She ran 23.66sec in the quarter-final.  

Strachan was born on August 22nd, 1993 and has another year in Carifta. That gives her another opportunity to break Campbell- Brown’s record.  

Her time of 22.93sec is a qualifying time for this year’s World Championships in Daegu, Korea.  

This summer she is eligible for the Pan American Junior Championships in Miramar, Florida. Next year she will be eligible for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona. All of these international meets are governed by qualifying procedures set by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations.

The 2012 Olympic Games qualifying standards will be released soon and there is a great chance that she will make the “A” Standard in the 200m.  

When Campbell-Brown set the 200m record in 2001 she had already won the 200m in the 2000 World Junior Championships.  

When asked about what she would do at the Games, a day before the BTC 2011 Carifta Team Bahamas departed for Montego Bay, Strachan said 22.8sec. She is extremely confident, which should bode well for her future in the sport.  

Anthonique is the fifth Bahamian athlete to win an Austin Sealy Award. The others are Ferguson-McKenzie in 1995, Pauline Davis-Thompson in 1984, Lavern Eve in 1982 and 1983, and MaryAnn Higgs in 1978.

This is just another example of the title of this column, “Small Country, Great Athletes”.  

This weekend Strachan leads the St. Augustine’s College “Big Red Machine” team, which includes World Junior Champion Shaunae Miller, who false started in the Games, to the 117th edition of the prestigious Penn Relays.  

Congratulations are in order for Anthonique Strachan, 2011 Austin Sealy Award Winner.

  

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