Small islands with big hearts at Pan Am Games 2007


When athletics begin at the Olympic Games it is often said that it marks the official start of the real Games. The same can be said of the Commonwealth Games, the Central American and Caribbean Games and the Pan American Games. What happened in Rio de Janeiro only served to prove the point.

On the track too the point made in the aforementioned column about size in Caribbean sport was clearly evident. The small islands in terms of size outperformed the larger Caribbean countries if we were to engage in an analysis based on the ratio between performances of athletes and the population.

Antigua and Barbuda could easily be said to have emerged the most successful Caribbean country through Brendan Christian who won gold in the 200m and bronze in the 100m.

The small island of Curacao won gold in the 100m through the ever-improving, Churandi Martina, an athlete who has won virtually every title available to him in the region, Carifta Games, CAC Juniors, Pan Am Juniors, CAC Games and now the Pan Am Games.

Grenada’s Sherry-Ann Fletcher, fresh from her outstanding performance in the NCAA 100m, made up for her defeat in the Pan Am Games 100m by placing third in the 200m in Rio de Janeiro, a feat that puts her in a very special place in Grenada’s sporting history and served notice that she is on the way to the big league in this sport. Her success at the Games may also have made up for her compatriot, Alleyne Francique’s failure to medal in his pet event, the 400m.

Chris Lloyd of Dominica stunned even his most ardent supporters with a fine third place performance in the 400m, an event which was won by Chris Brown of the Bahamas, yet another small Caribbean nation.

Of the Caribbean’s so-called larger countries performances were at best mediocre.

Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have all been offered excuses in the form of injuries by their top athletes.