SAN SALVADOR – Miguel Francis leads the list of 20 athletes qualified to the Olympic Games who will compete this weekend at the 8th North Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 Athletics Championships, to be held this weekend at Jorge “Mágico” González stadium in San Salvador.
The emerging sprinter from Antigua and Barbuda and training partner of Jamaican star Usain Bolt has made significant progress this season. Sixth at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, the 21-year old ran 200m in 19.88 seconds in June, a time that places him among the top medal contenders for the Rio Games.
The list of future Olympians includes versatile Barbadian Akela Jones. The 2014 World Junior long jump champion will contest three events this weekend: high and long jump and 100m hurdles.
Other Rio-bound athletes include USA’s shot putter Raven Saunders, Dominica Republic sprinter Stanley del Carmen, sprint hurdlers Jasmine Quinn and Miguel Barnes of Puerto Rico, Cuba’s José Luis Gaspar (400m hurdles), Lisneydis Veitia and Sahily Diago (800m) and javelin world junior record holder Yulenmis Aguilar as well as Mexico’s Diego del Real, who will defend his crown in the hammer throw.
Local hopes are centred on 18-year old Natan Rivera, who claimed the pole vault title at the NACAC Senior Championships in Costa Rica last summer. Rivera has improved his national record to 4.80m this season.
Athletes from 29 countries will contest The regional event will contest 46 events from Friday to Sunday. The meet, created in 2000, travels to Central America for the first time. El Salvador already hosted the inaugural NACAC Senior Championships in 2007.