The Bahamas, with the help of Abaco, captured the win in the first ever CARIFTA Judo Tournament which was held in Nassau April 7 and 8.
In the end, the final point totals earned saw Team Bahamas taking first place with 236 points, Trinidad and Tobago came second with 44 points and Surinam placed third with 30 points.
The Judoka from Abaco made their contributions to the overall medal count with Desmondo Bootle getting the first gold medal in the Under 21 90+Kg division. He was followed by Desmond Bootle in the Under 21 60Kg division with another gold medal.
Later in the day it would be the young ladies time to fight and the teams newest member Kaylee Roberts was first up winning her gold medal in the Under 15, 57+ Kg division and Rachel Rolle securing her bronze medal in her new division Under 21 70 Kg.
“Every one of the fighters on Team Bahamas was determined to make their mark in this inaugural games,” said Abaco’s Coach Regina Parotti. The final medal count for Team Bahamas was eleven gold, eleven silver and sixteen bronze.
There were some very good fights and excellent sportsmanship shown by all countries. The only disappointment was the very late arrival of team Haiti due to flight delays. In Bahamian style the opening ceremony kicked off with the games mascot Judo Ray dancing on the mat and leading the Junkanoo band. The Minister of Sports Dr. Danny Johnson declared the games open.
On the second day of the games the team competition was held. Kaylee and Rachel both fought in this section of the tournament but due to their teams not having enough fighters they did not medal.
“This event was a lot of fun and very different to what the Judoka are accustomed to. All teams were mixed males and females as well as different countries. “I must make a special note of Kaylee Roberts as she volunteered to fight on the Under 21 team even though her opponent was 8 years older and over 30Kg heavier than her. She wanted to make sure that Team Bahamas got all the points possible towards the first place finish. This is the positive spirit that CARIFTA and Judo looks to foster”, said Coach Parotti.
Coach Parotti sends a special thank you to everyone who helped to make the trip possible.