Tobago athletes made tremendous strides towards recording a 25th successive zonal title at the National Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships, on opening day at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday.

By late afternoon, students from the sister isle were already leading the other zones, having seized a large haul that included 12 gold medals.

Day one started one-and-a-half hours late (10.30 am), due to problems with the sound system. Signal Hill’s Tariq Horsford was among the first to stamp his mark for Tobago. Competing in the Under-16 Boys division, the 15-year-old who just recently broke the Under-18 Boys Javelin record at the Carifta Games sent down a couple of huge throws to win gold by some distance, his best effort going a distance of 66.04 metres.

Another leading Tobagonian was Safiya John, last year’s top female athlete. The Scarborough Secondary student won the Under-16 Girls 80m Hurdles in 12.87 seconds, ahead of Schrese Trim (Signal Hill); later, Safiya added the High Jump with a leap of 1.55m.

Signal Hill’s Asha James also completed a first-day double, though in field action. James won the Girls U-18 Discus with a 24.40m throw, and followed with gold in the Javelin (43.40m).

Other gold medallists for Tobago were Tehealia Kennedy (Girls U-14 Shot Putt), Anya Akili (Girls U-16 100m Hurdles), Kimoi Noray (Girls Under-16 Javelin), Chevelle Mc Pherson (Girls Under-18 Long Jump), Anson Moses (Boys Under-16 100m Hurdles), Omari Benoit (Boys Under-18 High Jump) and Aaron Lewis (Boys under–20 110m Hurdles).

Chasing Tobago were Port-of-Spain and Environs, for whom another Carifta standout, Jeminise Parris (St Francois Girls) easily claimed the U-20 Girls 100m Hurdles in 14.55 seconds. Clement Campbell won the Under-18 Boys Long Jump, his QRC schoolmate Shaquille Singuineau added gold in the Under-18 Boys Shot Putt, and Kobe John (St. Anthony’s) claimed the Boys Under-18 110m Hurdles. The 100-metre finals were run off late yesterday. At the end of a long opening day, Tobago were comfortably ahead with 531.50 points; though Port-of-Spain won more gold medals, North-East were second on 326, six points more than Port of Spain.

100m Winners (Zones):

U-16 Girls: Ayla Stanisclaus (Tobago) 12.10.

U-16 Boys: Sylvan Sylvon (South-East) 11.29.

U-18 Girls: Shikyla Walcott (Victoria) 12.37.

U-18 Boys: Akanni Hislop (Tobago) 10.62.

U-20 Girls: Zakiya De Noon (Tobago) 12.10.

U-20 Boys: Xavier Mulugata (POS) 10.87.