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St. Croix Runner Smashes CARIFTA Record In Winning Gold In The 400-Meter Hurdles

KINGSTON — The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation congratulates Michelle Smith for winning a gold medal for the Virgin Islands in the 400-meter hurdles competition at the 49th CARIFTA Games.

Smith, of St. Croix, ran a time of 58.61 which is not only a new CARIFTA Games record and a Virgin Islands National Junior record, but also the world’s fastest time for 2022 for the Under 18 age group. Michelle Smith is the first Virgin Islander to set a CARIFTA Games record.

St. Croix Runner Smashes CARIFTA Record In Winning Gold In The 400-Meter Hurdles
GOLDEN MOMENT: Holding the U.S. Virgin Islands flag, St. Croix’s Michelle Smith stands atop the podium with the gold medal she earned in winning the under-17 girls 400-meter hurdles final Sunday at the 49th CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Not only did the 15-year-old Smith set a USVI and CARIFTA Games record in the event, which she won in 58.61 seconds, but her time is currently the fastest in the world by an under-18 athlete.

Smith, the 15-year-old daughter of Keith Smith — VITFF President and Mireille Sankatsing Smith — six time CARIFTA Medalist, participated in the U17 age group but posted a time that was faster than the U20 age group.

Smith’s time qualifies her for the World Athletics U20 Championship which will be held in Cali, Columbia August 1 – 6, 2022.

This is the second track and field event Michelle Smith qualified for. Smith previously qualified for the 400 meter run, however, because of her age she can only enter in one event.

St. Croix Runner Smashes CARIFTA Record In Winning Gold In The 400-Meter Hurdles

Michelle Smith is the fourth athlete to win a Gold Medal for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The overall number of gold medals won by the territory is now five.

Previous gold medalists for CARIFTA are:

  • Jimmy Fleming won the first gold medal for the V.I. in the 200m 21.65 Barbados 1985
  • Sanny Eugene won gold in the 800m 2:12.75 Tobago 2005-
  • Allison Peter won gold in the 200m 23.99 St. Kitts & Nevis 2008 and in the 200m 23.29 Cayman Islands 2010

CARIFTA stands for The Caribbean Free Trade Association.

St. Croix Runner Smashes CARIFTA Record In Winning Gold In The 400-Meter Hurdles

The CARIFTA Championship of today is the world’s best Junior Championships. It is where the great Caribbean athletes usually get their start. Olympic gold medalists such as Usain Bolt and Shaunae Miller-Uibo came up through the Carifta Championships.

Funding for the team was provided in the form of competition grants from the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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