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Apr 11, 2023

The Garland Stays Home and Belizean Runner Dominates At CARIFTA Games

Good evening and welcome to this special edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez. It was a weekend of celebration in sports for Belizeans near and far. We begin tonight’s coverage with the ninety-third running of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. Well folks, if you have not already heard, the garland is back where it belongs, home in Belize! Yes, it was a spectacular race!  Just before six a.m. on Holy Thursday, one hundred and eleven riders geared up at the starting line over at the Digi Park in Belize City for the grueling one hundred and forty mile race.


On the hour, at the sound of the trumpet the riders got on their way towards San Ignacio Town. Twenty minutes into the race, just outside of Hattieville, four riders created a gap between the main peloton of riders. They were Belize’s Eric Trapp, Justin Williams, Henry Li and American, Ian McDonald. In front of the Belize Zoo, just outside of Mahogany Heights Village, the gap increased to one minute, as the four lead riders had their eyes set on San Ignacio Town. One hour and six minutes into the race, a group of cyclists from the main peloton launched an attack to close the gap. Among them were Oscar Quiroz, Giovanni Lovell, Carlton Robinson, Brandon Cattouse, Wasani Castro, Giovanni Choto and Byron Pope. Folks, that attack at mile thirty-one would change the course of the race.


Leaving Saint Matthew’s Village, Cory Williams, Justin Williams, Ian McDonald, Oscar Quiroz and Jonathon Brown broke away and took charge of the race, riding at a pace of thirty-two miles per hour. Excitement from cycling enthusiasts grew as the four riders headed into Santa Elena Town and on to the La Loma Luz Boulevard with a four minute and thirty-second lead. Heading back to Belize, just outside of Ontario Village, it was now three cyclist leading the pack: Jonathon Brown, Cory Williams and Oscar Quiroz. They had created an almost five-minute gap between themselves and the main the peloton.


Moving into Hattieville, it had now become clear that the winner would come from these three lead riders. All three rode into Belize City together. Three miles from the finish line, Belizean Oscar Quiroz launched a surprise attack from behind Williams and Brown. The other two riders got out of their seats and attempted to respond, but quickly thereafter they returned to their seated position while Oscar Quiroz rode off into the distance. At the Digi Park, the 2023 Holy Saturday Cross Country Champion, Oscar Quiroz rode across the finish line to the deafening sound of fans cheering him on.  He threw up his hands in sweet victory as cheers grew louder. Quiroz was followed by Cory Williams in second place and Jonathon Brown in third place. We spoke with all three riders following the race.


Oscar Quiroz

Oscar Quiroz, 2023 Cross Country Champion

“It is totally overwhelming; I think at this point it still has not sunk in yet. I dreamt about this moment for many years and I never pictured myself getting first. I know I always was a contender. Most people that knew me knows that I prepared as much as I could and by the end of the day I have done my part and it is just up to the good lord, when he says it is your turn it is your turn. It doesn’t matter what, if it comes your way to come your way. You just don’t know when and today he blessed me with one of the best feeling in my life. This is just crazy.”


Paul Lopez

“Let us talk about the challenge or the will and the energy it took to keep up and maintain the lead?”


Oscar Quiroz

“One thing I changed earlier this year was the nutrition part. Again, it never really guarantees you anything, but I know me and my teammate Johnny Brown which was in the break he told me you just have to eat very good, been patient, and if it comes your way it comes your way. I don’t know what happened. I did dream about it from when the break happened but it comes with a process. I have to thank him very much. I have to thank Cory, Justin, those guys made sure that the plan was for the garland to stay here in Belize. If it was not me it was going to be Cory and I am very thankful for how much these guys have supported me. They put  me up to the next level, Cory and the guys really gave me this opportunity to believe in myself a bit more, here and outside. From now on I just have to owe it all to them, everybody that supported me, my family.”


Cory Williams

Cory Williams, 2nd Place Winner

“Oscar is a really good rider and that is why you know he is on the Miami Blazers. I knew it was going to be problems, cause I didn’t really feel great today. I was kind of hoping that he would wait around for the sprint which I think I could have got him, but  he was smart and he just played his cards right.”


Paul Lopez

“That sprint, did it catch you by surprise. I saw you got off your saddle for a little while and then sat down back.”


Cory Williams

“It didn’t catch me by surprise. I was feeling bad for the most part of the day and I was kinda cramping for the last fifty miles. So, I figured once he got up if he didn’t go fast enough I could probably get across. But, once he went my goal was just to make it to the line and not get caught by the rider behind.”


Jonathon Brown

Jonathon Brown, 3rd Place Winner

“Coming in, I haven’t raced in the heat so it was a little brutal, but this is probably one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. I have raced all around the world and people are so into cycling here.”


And from an impressive victory by Oscar Quiroz, to an outstanding performance by Belizean Demetrie Meyers at the Fiftieth CARIFTA Games held over the weekend in the Bahamas. Having qualified for the Under- seventeen Boys Fifteen Hundred Meters Finals, on Saturday morning young Demetrie Meyers went up against runners from across the Caribbean. The starting pistol went off and the race got underway.  One minute and fourteen seconds into the race, Meyers broke away from the main pack of runners, maintaining a smooth pace. Two minutes and fifty seconds into the race he doubled his lead as he headed into the final lap. With less than one hundred and fifty meters to go, three minutes and fifty seconds into the race, Demetrie Meyers sprinted to the finish line to secure his first gold of the tournament.


On Sunday, young Demetrie Meyers once again stood at the starting line, this time for the three thousand meter race. Early into the race, at one minute and forty-four seconds Meyers took the lead. He clocked in the first one thousand meters at three minutes and three seconds with a comfortable lead. Meyers then continued to distance himself from the main group of runners as the race progressed, completing the second one thousand meters in three minutes and five seconds.  Eight minutes and fifty-four seconds into his run, Meyers turned into the straightaway, overlapping three other runners for final push to the finish line, securing his second gold medal. We spoke with Demetrie Meyers and his coach Gregory Meyers about this weekend’s victories.

Gregory Meyers

Gregory Meyers, Head Coach

“It was a successful CARIFTA Games, we had some ups and downs just like any competition would go, but in comparison if we are talking about progression, we had a phenomenal outcome. We came last year with one silver. This year we come back with two gold, the first gold every in our history. So, we cannot be upset with that in any way shape or form.”


Paul Lopez

“I think Demetrie did an interview and he said he train inside a park?”


Gregory Meyers

“That is correct. A lot of people put an emphasis on well we can’t do it because we nuh got facilities. But, we don’t train on a track. We train in a park, in the cold, in the rain, the snow. There is no obstacle that is afforded to us. My children, my team, they don’t participate for their schools so we don’t have the resources, even though we are in America, we don’t have the resources of a school district, or a town or a city. We did everything we can in the park.”


Demetrie Meyers

Demetrie Meyers, Gold Medal Winner, 50th CARIFTA Games

“I say, that as long as you stick to your training and you are determined and you are passionate about the sport of track and field, if you keep on going, no matter if your event is on the track of field, just stick to what you need to do, your daily routine everyday and when you get under the big lights you perform at a hundred and ten percent.”


Well folks, that is all we have for you in tonight’s coverage of Sports Monday. Until Next Time, be mindful that nature is the best play ground. Get outside and have some fun.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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