PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad: Khalifa St. Fort is looking forward to compete in her first Carifta Games set for St. Georges, Grenada from March 26-28. St. Fort booked her ticket when she sped to victories in the girls under 20 100m (11.39w) and 200m (23.64) at the Carifta Trials at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on March 5 & 6. Coached by T&T’s quadruple Olympic medallist Ato Boldon, St. Fort will go to Grenada as one of the favourites for double gold in her maiden Carifta trip.
The 18 year old had an outstanding year in 2015 when she won a bronze medal at the World Outdoor Senior World Champs, gold at the Pan American juniors and silver World Youth Champs. At the the 2015 World Seniors in August, then only 17 year old St. Fort became the one of youngest medallist in the women’s 4x100m (and one of the youngest at the World) where she anchored T&T’s women’s 4x100m team in heats to a place in the finals. The team went on to place third in the finals and St. Fort got her share of the bronze for her efforts in the heats. At the Pan American Juniors one month earlier St. Florida resident took the top spot in the women’s 100m to become the second local lady behind Michelle-Lee Ahye in 2011 to take the Pan Am sprint title. At the World Youth Champs she grabbed silver in the girls 100m in a new national under 18 record of 11.19 and improved on the bronze won by Kelly-Ann Baptiste back in 2003. Though competing in her maiden Carifta Games the ever-smiling St. Fort is ready to represent her country. “Trinidad and Tobago is where my heart is and I love to represent my country. It is a big dream of mind.” Her impressive runs at the Carifta trials were her first outdoor competition for 2016. She said her clocking in the 100m of 11.39w was within her target for the meet. “The time I had in mind was 11.4 or 11.5 so the 11.39, though wind-assisted was right in that range. In the 200m..the time I ran 23.64) was close to my best of 23.55.” Looking ahead of her next meet-the Carifta Games, the second fastest local female junior sprinter ever (behind Kelly-Ann Baptiste’s 11.17) added that based on her performance at the Trials she is ahead of schedule but still feels she has work to do.
Looking back at her stellar 2015 season St. Fort said her successes in the last year have been motivating. “It has made a big difference seeing that I could perform on a senior stage, within the pressure and execute my race properly has given me a great confidence boost for every track meet.” The teenager has joined Boldon’s training camp which includes Baptiste and triple Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson and is grateful for the experience of training alongside her more accomplished colleagues. “It is a great experience. It provides with people who have been there, and where I want to go. They always give me great advice and it is always good to have someone to lead me. “