So, okay, this is a literary blog; but it’s also an Antiguan and Barbudan blog so indulge me while I spare a few minutes to talk about the Olympics. It’s only the biggest sporting event in the world (that isn’t the World Cup). I do think woefully little has been done to create buzz around Antigua and Barbuda’s Olympic bound athletes (including the 11th hour official announcement of the A & B contingent to the Olympics – the Olympics begin on July 27th, the announcement re the team hit the media this week, yes with just a week to go). Buuut it’s no fault of the athletes and I do want to big them up as they go on their way and I’ll be looking for them in the opening ceremony. They are…
Daniel ‘Bakka’ Bailey described in the official announcement as Antigua and Barbuda’s “best opportunity” at the games. His specialty is the 100 metre, at which distance he finished 4th at the 2009 World Championships. He’s also won the IAAF Golden League at 100 and taken a bronze medal at 60 metre in the IAAF World Indoor Championships. His personal best at 100 is 9.91 seconds, also the national record.
Afia Charles who specializes in the 400 metre. She attends the University of Central Florida where she competes for UCF Knights but she is originally from Antigua and Barbuda. She’s bronzed at the CARIFTA Games, won gold at the C-USA Indoor Championships, breaking a couple of school records along the way.
Karin Clashing who has previously represented Antigua and Barbuda at the OECS, CARIFTA, and World Championship level. Her sport, swimming; she has more than once claimed the national open water 1 mile prize along with other accolades.
Brendan Christian whose specialty is the 200 though he also set a national record of 10.11 seconds at the 100 metre while at College Station back in 2004. He is also a holder of the Antigua and Barbuda record in the 4 x 100 metre relay with 39.90 seconds. As a junior, he won the Silver in this event at the 2002 World Junior Championships. He’s reached the quarter final in the Olympics, and the semi finals in both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. In 2007, he won the 100 metre Bronze and 200 metre Gold at the Pan American Games.
Orel Jeffery, an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship holder, who received a Universality Place in the Additional Places category to compete at the games. He’s a swimmer, in the 50 metres freestyle category.
This will be a return to the Olympics for both Bailey and Christian.
So, that’s team Antigua and Barbuda…the sporting side. I have to give a mention though to Antigua and Barbuda’s arts representative, Linisa George, the “brown girl in the ring” who booked a spot at the Poetry Parnassus, the arts Olympics that preceded the actual Olympics.