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Apr 17, 2023

Belize Athletics Association Host 2023 National Championships

Goodnight and welcome to another edition of Sports Monday where we bring you the best stats and highlights from sporting events across the country, I am Paul Lopez. Over the weekend, the Belize Athletics Association breathed life into the often dormant Marion Jones Sporting Complex, with its National Track and Field Championship. Athletes from across Belize, juniors and seniors, gathered for two days of high jumping, speed-racing, energy demanding action.


We begin our coverage with the women’s one hundred meter race. Five young ladies got on their marks at the starting line for the first heat of the preliminaries. The starting pistol is fired and they are off.  In lane three, Splash Runners’ Hillary Gladden takes off and holds the lead to the finish line, finishing in just under thirteen seconds. She takes first place. Her teammate comes in a second behind her in second place. Gladden is clearly experiencing a bit of discomfort to her lower back. In the second preliminary heat of the day in the women’s one hundred meter, six runners take their marks at the starting line. The starting pistol is fired and they are off. Splash Runners’ Kendal Morgan finishes first in this heat in just under thirteen seconds with her teammate crossing the line immediately behind her.


The runners hug it out and congratulate the first place winner of that heat on an impressive run.  And now, the time has come for the final run in this women’s one hundred meter sprint. The top runners from the two heats take their marks at the starting line. The flag goes down and they are off. Gladden lifts her head and sets her eyes on the finish line as she takes the lead. The runners are racing down the track.  Gladden raises her right hand in celebration, as she claims the gold medal in twelve point sixty-two seconds. She is followed by Kendal Morgan in second and Tridean Martinez in third place.


Hillary Gladden

Hillary Gladden, Gold Medalist, Women’s 100m

“After that race ih mih good but…”


Paul Lopez

“You came in with an injury right?”


Hillary Gladden

“Yes, I mih have a back injury from like two weeks ago. I mih the lift weights, I hurt my back. I deh pan a scholarship the Olympic scholarship. I am preparing for Olympics 2024. That is my biggest dream to be.”


And, from the women’s one hundred meter sprint to the men’s one hundred meter sprint which saw three races in the preliminaries.  In the first group, six runners take their marks at the starting line. The gun goes off and folks, we have a sprint. Brandon Jones leads the group, making huge strides across the track. He completes the heat in first place just less than eleven seconds. Another six runners take their marks for the second heat of the men’s one hundred meter sprint. The flag is down and they are out of the gates.


The third and final heat in the preliminaries for the men’s one hundred meter race. And now, this is the finals for the men’s one hundred meter race. The top runners from all three heats went head-to-head for a sprint to gold. They take their marks. The horn is blown and they take off in a flash. Jones making huge strides across the track in the first position, as the runners behind him, Mark Anderson and Joas Mejia gain ground. Jones makes it across the finish line in eleven point thirteen seconds, followed closely by Anderson with eleven point seventeen seconds and Mejia in third place.


Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones, Gold Medalist, Men’s 100m

“I mean there was a bit of fatigue from triple jump so it was more about executing and finishing the race. I knew I wasn’t going to be at a hundred for it so the game plan was to make sure I was pacing my drive and just about standing up being able to finish through, so.”


Paul Lopez

“I saw you slow down a bit.”


Brandon Jones

“Yeah, I definitely, mostly fatigue kicked in. But I knew I had the race secured so I knew it was cool at that point where I just minimized how I slowed down.”


Jones also dominated the men’s two hundred meter dash. Now, here is one we don’t hear about often in Belize, hurdling. The men’s one hundred and ten meter hurdles saw three athletes take their places at the starting line to run and jump over ten obstacles at speed. The horn sounds; the runner in lane three knocks over his first hurdle and his second. The runners in lanes one and two making light work of hurdles as they race on. Eighteen-year-old Glenford Williams, in the second lane, clips his left foot on the seventh hurdle but presses on.  Williams sprints to the finish line with a near perfect execution of sprinting and jumping in this hurdles event.


Glenford Williams

Glenford Williams, Gold Medalist, Men’s Hurdles

“I feel good because that is not really my height. I feel good. It’s the first time I am clearing it.”


Paul Lopez
“When you saw they were putting it at that height what was your thoughts?”


Glenford Williams

“I get afraid because I was afraid I fall, because it was my first.”


Other events featured over the weekend included the men and women’s four hundred meter race that were won by Gary Neal out of Roaring Creek Village and Ashonti Carr from Belize City, respectively. Carr also placed first in the women’s eight hundred meter dash. There was also the men and women’s triple jump, the women’s three thousand meter race and the men’s five thousand meter race. And, this is just to name a few. We spoke with Deon Sutherland the President of the Belize Athletics Association about the future of athletics in Belize.


Deon Sutherland

Deon Sutherland, President, BAA

“This year we have quite a number of youth events. For example, we have the Central American Junior Championships coming up. We have the U-Twenty Pan American Games coming up in Puerto Rico. We have the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad. So, there is quite a number of youth events. So, the younger athletes you can prepare for those events. Of course you have to look at 2028 and 2032 which are the next two Olympics. So, those are the cycles we are looking at with these youths.”


And from the Track and Field National Championships, we move straight into cycling action. The Weekend Warriors Belize Cycling Club held its Twelfth Annual Cross Country Classic. Riders in the A and B categories rode from the Spanish Lookout roundabout in the Cayo District to the finish line on the Philip Goldson Highway in Belize City. Riders in the C category rode from in front of the Garbutt Gas Station in Roaring Creek Village to the finish line in Belize City. The race was covered live in its entirety by Andrew Ordonez from Ordonez Bike Shop.


And the race is off. Tariq Cano leads the race early, followed by his father Daniel Cano with Philton Butler in third place. Wayne Moses launches an attack and creates a small gap between the group. Just outside of Ontario Village, nine minutes into the race, Randee Sheppard is now out front. Outside of Belmopan, Windell Williams Junior and Tyrone Green are in the lead. Heading into Gracie Rock Village, it is Windell Williams once again in the lead. This is some one hour and forty minutes into the race. Heading towards mile twelve, it’s all Kenroy ‘Smokes’ Gladden. Tyrone Green and Athlea Lozona catches up with Gladden heading into mile ten. With only a few miles left to the finish line, ten riders are up front. They ride around the roundabout and unto Chetumal Boulevard. Here is a look at the finishing sprint that was won by Roque Matus riding for M & M Engineering, the defending champion.


Roque Matus

Roque Matus, Winner, Weekend Warriors Cross Country

“First off all I felt very good in the race. After cross country I didn’t stop training. I just continued training. I rode a little bit easy but I stayed on my bike so that I can feel well today. I had a very small team today, so in the early part of the race I let Windell go up on the road and I told him just make sure in the middle of the race that he kept it together. One spell he was pacing and they let ride off and he ended up in a break with seven guys. I was in the back and I had to put it in the gutter for some miles and chase and I got on and said I won’t fall asleep after this.”


And, finally for tonight, after a two-week Easter break, the Belize Elite Basketball League has returned. Following this weekend’s matchups, Dream Ballers are on top of the league and are being trailed by the Benny’s Belize Hurricanes. Running Rebels fell to third place and the Belize City Defenders fell to fourth place. With only a handful of games left to be played in the regular season, the 2023 playoffs are already looking to take shape and many out there are of the view that these top four teams will be making it to the playoffs. But, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks have moved up from seventh place to sixth after a really bad first half of the regular season. They are saying; don’t count us out just yet. So, we will have to keep a close eye on the standings in the next few weeks.


Alright folks, that is all we have for you in this week’s edition of Sports Monday. Until next time, be mindful that nature is the best playground go out 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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