This country's struggles continued on the second day of the inaugural Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, on Friday.
This as the T&T athletes competing in cycling, cycling, and triathlon all failed to progress to the medal round of any of their respective events.
T&T’s biggest medal hope on the day was at the Alcides Nieto Patino Velodrome, Pista, however, the local trio of Tariq Woods, Michael Ackee, and Zion Pulido combined for a time of 48.342 seconds for the fifth and final spot in the qualifying round of the Men’s Cycling Team Sprint, to miss out on a chance at a medal.
Host Colombia topped the heats in a sizzling 44.950, well ahead of Argentina (46.088), Mexico (46.426), and Venezuela (48.320) ahead of last night’s finals.
It was also a tough first day at the Hernando Botero O'bryne Swimming Pools for the T&T swimmers as none of the four in individual competition advanced to medal swims.
In the men’s 400m freestyle heat two of three, T&T’s Nikoli Blackman of Marlins, swimming out of lane one of eight, touched the wall in a personal best time of four minutes, 09.15 seconds for the seventh spot and only ahead of Nicaraguan Gerald Huerta who clocked 4:19.90.
Colombia Santiago Zabala gave the host something to cheer about when he won the heat in 3:59.80, to finish ahead of Argentina’s Gian Turco (3:59.86) and another Colombian, Juan Restrepo (4:00.03).
The trio of Peruvian Rafael Castilla (4:02.50), Ecuadorean Joseph Rubio (4:03.47), and Argentina’s Lucas Alba (4:08.24) also finished ahead of Blackman in fourth, fifth, and sixth positions, respectively.
In the third and final 400m freestyle heat, T&T’s Graham Chatoor, a senior at the New York University, was fourth in 4:06.19, to finish behind Brazilian winner, Eduardo De Moraes (3:59.74), Peru’s Joaquin Gallo (4:02.55) and Chile’s Eduardo Gomez (4:03.00) while Paraguay’s Matheo Mongelos (4:08.57), Cuban Adrian Foya (4:10.35) and Aruban, Patrick Groters (4:11.07) were the other finishers.
Last night, Chatoor, who had the ninth-fastest preliminary-heat time to just miss out on the final, and Blackman were both expected to take part in the 400m freestyle B-final.
The University of Nebraska’s Gabriel Donahue also had a tough time in the women’s 100m breaststroke with a sixth-placed finish in the fourth and final heat in 1:17.46 for 21st overall from the field of 27 entrants.
University of Indianapolis ace, Kael Yorke was also expected to swim the men’s 200m butterfly B final after he was fourth in heat two in 2:07.25 for the 11th-best time overall.
T&T was expected to go after gold in the men’s 4x100 metres freestyle relay last night as well, against Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru and Chile in a six-team final.
At Lake Calima, Club Nautico, Jean-Marc Granderson, T&T’s lone triathlete placed 31st with a total time of one hour, 11 minutes and 36 seconds. This after Granderson was timed at 25:13.00 minutes for running, 32.27 for cycling, and 11.19 for swimming.
Saturday, this country’s lone boxer, Juan Rodriguez is also set to enter the ring in the men’s 52kg quarterfinal round against Guatemala’s Jose Daniel Felipe Mijangos at the Luis Ignacio Alvarez Arena, Cancha.
Having missed out on participating in the first of two men’s K1 1,000-metre men’s canoe sprints at Lake Calima, on Thursday, due to communication mix up which forced him to be at the wrong starting location, T&T’s Josiah Clarke will turn his attention to the K1 200m event Saturday.
Also in swimming, Donahue (200m freestyle) and Ornella Walker (200 IM/medley), Chatoor (200m freestyle), Zarek Wilson (200m freestyle/100m butterfly) and Yorke (100m butterfly)
Javelin thrower Tyriq Horsford is T&T’s leading medal hope at the first-ever Under-23 Games which ends on Thursday (December 5).
Horsford will be leading the team in the medal category following his silver medal at the 2017 Junior Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.
Earlier this year, he nabbed gold at the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-18, Under-20, and Under-23 Championships in Costa Rica. Horsford has also won multiple gold medals at the Carifta Games over the years.
Chef de mission, Diane Henderson is head of the TeamTTO delegation that includes eight sporting disciplines at the Games, consisting of 23 athletes (18 male, 5 female) and 17 officials.
T&T is being represented at the Games in athletics, 3x3 basketball, boxing, canoe, cycling, triathlon, swimming, and weightlifting.