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The U18/U20 national track and field team goes to Costa Rica

SportsThe U18/U20 national track and field team goes to Costa Rica

Photo: Some athletes leaving to Costa Rica

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. May 17, 2024

A delegation of 13 Belizean track and field athletes will be representing the Jewel in the 2024 U18/U20 Confederación Atlética del Istmo Centroamericano, which is translated in English to Central American Isthmus Athletic Confederation (CADICA) Games set to take place in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Established in 1964, CADICA is the regional confederation governing body of athletics for national governing bodies and multi-national federations within Central America. Seven countries within Latin America make up the confederation – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

“This event gives these talented student-athletes a chance to compete internationally against the best in the region,” said Cojac Smith, President of the Belize Athletic Association (BAA). “Competing at this level allows these athletes to see the dedication of other athletes and start building communities at this youth level. This is also an opportunity for these athletes to record verifiable times and distances that would be accepted internationally. We must provide these opportunities for our qualified athletes to compete in these international meets,” he added.

Brandon Flores, who will be coaching the team on their trip to Costa Rica, shared some insights with the team as he has competed in several international competitions previously as an athlete.

“I reflect on my days as a junior athlete with the Belize National U18 team. I know exactly how you guys are feeling. It’s an honor for me to be here when it comes to the preparation. I know you guys went through a lot. See, you guys, you had to be dedicated, you had to endure the pain, you had to take criticism; but all of these things are important because they help strengthen you to become the best possible athlete that you can be,” he said.

The 13 athletes making the trip are: U18 – Tamia Bennett, Isis Casimiro, Summer Francis, Ahmarri Mutrie, Emaini Sandoval, Dario Cruckshank, Aquille Flores, Rupert Cardinez, Kamron Gentle, Juavann Morgan, and Nathan Pettingale; and U20 – Kaili Magana and Elvin Guzman.

Apart from Flores, the team is accompanied by a physiotherapist, Vivet Palacio, and members of the BAA executive, including Gregory Myers, Public Relations Officer for the BAA, who met the team in Costa Rica.

The kids will compete in various track and field events – 100 M dash, 200 M dash, Triple Jump, Long Jump, Javelin, etc.

The Ministry of Sports funded 75% of the team’s traveling expenses.

The athletes departed Belize today, Friday evening, and will be returning on Monday, May 20.

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