T&T's Blackman go in search of 100m freestyle medal after copping 50m free gold at World Junior Swim Champs

By Sports Desk September 07, 2023
Trinidad and Tobago's Nikoli Blackman (left) with teammate Tyla Ho-A-Shu Trinidad and Tobago's Nikoli Blackman (left) with teammate Tyla Ho-A-Shu

Trinidad and Tobago’s young sensation Nikoli Blackman continues to show marked improvements as he copped the 50 metres freestyle title in breathtaking fashion at the World Junior Swimming championships Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel on Thursday.

Blackman, who earlier clocked a brisk personal best 22.33 seconds in the semi-finals, later underlined his class as one of the world's top young freestylers, as he won the final in 22.35s. He bettered a quality field with Australia’s Flynn Southam (22.43s) and Lorenzo Ballarati (22.47s) of Italy, taking silver and bronze respectively.

The home country was denied its first medal of the championships, as homeboy, Mikhail Povaliaev was fourth in 22.66s, while Javier Nunez of the Dominican Republic, still just a high school junior, was sixth in 22.73s.

Blackman’s performance follows the three gold medals won at last month’s Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago and surpassed those from last year’s edition of the World Junior Championships.

At World Juniors last September, Blackman was a finalist in the 50m freestyle and a semi-finalist in the 100m freestyle. He finished sixth in prelims of the 50m with 22.97s, then went 22.83s in both the semis and the final.

The University of Tennessee swimmer, who missed out on a medal in the 200m freestyle when he finished fifth in the heat in 1:50.36, is scheduled to contest the 100m freestyle on Friday

  

Related items

  • Haynes high on confidence as young Soca Warriors ready to kick off U-20 Champs against St Vincent and the Grenadines Haynes high on confidence as young Soca Warriors ready to kick off U-20 Champs against St Vincent and the Grenadines

    Trinidad and Tobago Head coach Brian Haynes is exuding confidence that his young Soca Warriors should open their Concacaf under-20 Championship qualifiers account with victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday.

    The young Soca Warriors, which recently wrapped up their preparation phase, now has the much-anticipated opportunity to impress both their coach and fans on home soil. They lock horns with St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Group D feature game at 6:00pm, after group favourites Canada meet Dominica in the 3:00pm curtain-raiser.

    With only the group winner to progress to the Championship round where they will join the confederation's top-six ranked teams, United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic, Haynes is well aware that his team has no room for mistakes throughout the campaign.

    "We are preparing for the first game. That is it. Nothing means anything unless we play that first game and do what we have to do to win that game," Haynes told T&T Football Association (TTFA) media.

    "No disrespect to St Vincent or whoever we are going to play, but that is our focus – winning that first game," he added.

    After their opening game against St Vincent and the Grenadines, the young Soca Warriors play Dominica on Sunday, before ending the group assignment against Canada on February 27. All games will be played at the Mucurapo venue.

    Haynes, who included seven overseas-based players in his 21-member squad, admitted to knowing little about their opponents.

    "(We have not been able to get much information on other teams), which is fine. It is really quiet out there. It made me more determined to prepare my team the way we have to play, the tactician shared.

    With 11 of the players being those that represented the twin island republic at last year's Concacaf under-17 championship, there is some cohesion and intensity in Haynes's side, which he believes the overseas-based players have strengthened. The overseas-based players are goalkeeper Ailan Panton, striker Larry Noel, attacking midfielder Derrel Garcia and English-born flanker Rio Cardines, a Crystal Palace youth player.

    "The level of professionalism is one thing, and the level of play is another thing. The body of work these guys bring to the group is awesome," Haynes said.

    "They are not here to be casual. They are here working hard and giving their best. What it has done is lift the level of all the players," he noted.

    Haynes promised possession-oriented football with a purpose, as he underlined the significance of keeping clean sheets in the qualifiers, especially given the quality of his defensive group.

    "(The fans) are going to meet a bunch of players who are very hard-working. Second of all, they are going to meet a bunch of players who play for each other. Thirdly and most importantly, (the fans will see) a team that wants to win and entertain T&T," Haynes ended.

  • Sarina Wiegman says England have ‘moved on’ from Olympic disappointment Sarina Wiegman says England have ‘moved on’ from Olympic disappointment

    England head coach Sarina Wiegman believes her side have “moved on” from the heartbreak of missing out on Olympic qualification.

    The Lionesses face Austria on Friday and Italy next Tuesday in a pair of friendlies which have replaced what they hoped would be Nations League semi-finals.

    A 6-0 thrashing of Scotland looked to have secured top spot in Group A1 in December, only for the Netherlands to score twice in added time against Belgium to pip England on goal difference and end Team GB’s hopes of qualifying for Paris 2024.

    “This is really the start of our Euros campaign and after the very disappointing result of not qualifying for the play-offs to qualify for the Olympics we moved on,” said Wiegman, whose side will bid to defend their European title in Switzerland next year.

    “This is the start, with two friendlies which is really good for us because we can try out some things.

    “We are also very close to the Under-23s [also training in Spain] so we can see them, we can connect with them and we get a lot of players that we can see where they are at this moment.

    “This is a great start because in April the Nations League starts which are the qualifiers for the Euros.”

    Euro 2022-winning captain Leah Williamson had been named in Wiegman’s squad for the first time since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament rupture, but the Arsenal defender withdrew with a hamstring injury on Sunday.

    Asked if club coaches had requested a limit on player minutes amid a three-way Women’s Super League title race and a spate of high-profile injuries, Wiegman said: “Not this time.

    “We are in contact with each other all the time, we update each other and of course we know how important the Women’s Super League is too but also the German League for Georgia [Stanway] and the Spanish league for the players who play in Spain at the moment.

    “Of course, we want to take care of the players but we want to do lots of things. We play to win but we also have the opportunity now to try out things and also manage minutes. With a busy calendar I think that’s something to be aware of.

    “The issue of injuries is a bigger picture and it’s about the load on the players. The calendar we talk about a lot, that we really have to address the calendar. I spoke up about that last week – we really ask FIFA and UEFA to change things.

    “But we are doing a job as good as possible with all the expertise we have in our team and staff. We have a programme and we monitor the players really well.

    “You’re in an environment where an injury can happen because it’s a physical sport, but if you can diminish the risk of injuries as much as possible, that’s also what we try to do.”

  • All set: Seven overseas-based players in Haynes's final squad for Concacaf U-20 Champs All set: Seven overseas-based players in Haynes's final squad for Concacaf U-20 Champs

    Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Brian Haynes has named the trio of Rio Cardines, Derrel Garcia and Larry Noel among seven overseas players in his young Soca Warriors squad for their upcoming Concacaf Men's Under-20 Championship assignment.

    The twin island republic will host Group D, which includes Canada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. They will open against St Vincent and the Grenadines next Friday, before tackling Dominica on February 25, and Canada on February 27.

    Haynes's side is now in the final phase of their preparations following two warm-up fixtures against Jamaica, and one against their senior Soca Warriors counterparts. They first defeated Jamaica 3-2, but lost the second contest 1-3, and that was followed by a 1-2 defeat to Angus Eve's senior outfit.

    Despite those results, Haynes in a recent interview, expressed pleasure with his team's display for the most part.

    “We need to have some consistency. We have to work on being much more effective on offence. I think we do a good job getting the ball from the back to the midfield and to the top of the 18-yard (box), but the final product has to become better,” Haynes reasoned.

    “All we have to do is keep working hard no matter what happens. We concentrated for the most part...I am thankful it is happening now and not in the tournament. While we didn’t win the game, the experience they got here is something you cannot get in practice,” he added.

    The inclusion of the seven overseas-based players meant the tactician was impressed by their rendition, as he initially declared that their selection would be dependent on the quality they could add to his team.

    “This (local) group here has made me proud, and I am saying I love it. We have good players coming from overseas, but we have good soccer players here in Trinidad, and if the guys that are coming in are not challenging these guys, this is what I am going with,” Haynes said prior to finalizing his squad.

    Only the group winners will progress to the next phase of the Concacaf Under-20 tournament to join the top teams –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.