First Timer steals show, Former 3rd place female finisher rises to the occasion
Weeks stamps her authority in the walk, Former runner now walking champion
An appreciative crowd on hand to support their teams
Members of the financial services sector were beaming with excitement, support, and pride for their teams as they converged on the Queen’s Park Savannah on Wednesday April 05, 2017.
From about 4.30 p.m. Teams were streaming in for the 26th Anniversary of CariFin (Caribbean Financial Institutions) Games 2017, One Lap Savannah event. Ten participating teams represented First Citizens, RBL, CBTT, Guardian Group, RBC Bank, Scotiabank, UTC, JMMB Bank, Sagicor and ANSA Financial Group. Teams and supporters came together all outfitted in their institutions’ colors, battling for valuable points. These teams will compete in ten events across the next two months.
John Paul Drakes of Republic Bank, in his first time participating in CariFin Games, showed his intention from the very start, taking off with the leading bunch, Drakes simply drifted away from the pack increasing his lead over the distance to complete the 2.28 mile distance with a lead of 35 seconds and finishing in 14.56. When asked how he felt having won the event, Drakes said, “Crossing the finish line with no one near to me was very pleasing, because when I looked back and didn’t see anyone there, it was like I have done it!”
In 2nd place was the 2016 male winner of this event Abijah Phillip also of Republic Bank who took the runner-up position in 15.31.
2016’s Most Improved Male runner Kris Deonanan of Guardian Group filled the 3rd position, making it the 1st time Guardian Group has medal for this event. Deonanan completed this event in 16.27.
Two things that could be said of the Female category in CariFin Games Running Series 2017 is that it was shrouded in uncertainty, and two, there wasn’t an outright favorite. It was anyone’s guess who would emerge as Winner of the One Lap event.
With the inclusion of Christine Regis of ANSA Financial Services, you might have felt that it was a done deal as Regis was the 2016 Cross Country Winner. However, fast rising and recent winner of Fun Runners Caura Dash 2017 – Go Green 10K, Central Bank’s Salina Scott may have cast some doubt on that prediction. Scott’s last participation in CariFin Games was in 2012 where she placed 3rd among the Women. It wasn’t long into the race that Scott showed she meant business and established a lead which was not challenged by Regis. This allowed Scott to finish the extended course in 17.25 with Regis in 2nd Place with a time of 17.38.
“Well, it’s an accomplishment! The 1st time I did this event it was 2012. I did it in 19.33 and came 3rd. I was a different person at that point in time. I came out to win today!”, said an ecstatic Scott.
In 3rd place was another CBTT runner Chelsea Phillip who managed 18.XX ….. place.
Tessa Weekes of Republic Bank created history in the walking category by being the 1st Female to win the walking category out right. It took her 28.36 minutes to complete the extended course. Weekes was the 2016 Female Walking Champion Overall, but had never won the One Lap Savannah challenge. This year, she was able to stamp her authority on the walking race…and it would be fantastic if she remains unbeaten in the series, with three more remaining. Weekes was greeted with a thunderous applause by the biggest team on the evening, her Republic Bank supporters as they welcomed her accomplishment and success.
Following Weekes was the Male Champion Gian Corbie also of Republic Bank in a time of 30.02. The last time Corbie participated in CariFin Games was as a Runner in 2013, placing 41 in a time of 18.34. Corbie has now returned as a Walker, five years later to win the Male Walking race and bring glory to Republic Bank.
In 2nd place for the Female was Michelle Redon-Girod of Republic Bank who did 32.14;
and 3rd place went to Chenique Castro also of Republic Bank in 32.26, pushing up the tally of wins for Republic Bank.
For the Men’s Walk, in 2nd place were Neil Juman of First Citizens and Andrew Mc Carthy of Guardian Group who both clocked 30.09.
In 2017 there was a change to the course which resulted in an increase in the distance of the race. The race would usually start in the paved area of the Savannah which is opposite TGI Friday’s Restaurant, and would head in a southern direction, amounting to 40 meters. When the runners sprinted from the start last year over 200 runners ended up on the inner lane of the road way. This year, this issue was eliminated by rerouting the start, utilizing the road at the back of the North Stands, runners were guided easily onto the Savannah, proceeding in a clock wise direction.
In the end Republic Bank topped all the teams taking home the most medals, an impressive 6 medals overall: 2 in the Running event in the Male category; all 3 in the Walk event in the Female category, as well as the Top Male Winner in the same category.
We look forward to another exciting and dynamic showing at CariFin Games 2017!