While it was not her most fluent series of jumps, Zavien Bernard held her composure well enough to cop Jamaica’s first gold medal of the 51st Carifta Games, as she topped the Under-17 girls’ high jump at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Bernard, who entered the Games in superb form after clearing 1.83m to win gold at the recently-concluded ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, couldn’t replicate that clearance, but did enough to finish tops in the end.

After failing first time at 1.55m, the 15-year-old Bernard got into rhythm and had first time clearance at 1.60m, 1.65m, 1.68m, with the winning leap coming first time at 1.71m. She later failed in her attempt at 1.74m.

“I am extremely happy because this is my first time representing the national team. It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t go higher, but I had to pull myself together because I knew my team needed this. The other competitors pushed me a little, but I am used to this, and I actually expected myself to win this event,” Bernard, who attends Hydel High said after the victory.

The Jamaican faced stiffed competition from silver medallist Alexandria Komolafe (1.71m), who cleared all the heights on her first attempt and seemed well on her way to victory, before she clipped the bar first time at 1.71m, which opened the door for Bernard to snatch victory.

Tenique Vincent of Trinidad and Tobago was third with a clearance at 1.68m.

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Hydel High’s Zavien Bernard successfully defended her Class three high jump title, as she soared to a new record height 1.83m on day three of the 113th ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Bernard, who was overwhelmingly favoured to top the field, didn’t disappoint. She showed class and poise in each jump, and further demonstrated her immense ability after dismissing rivals.

With a second-consecutive gold medal already in the bag, the 15-year-old Bernard later cleared the bar at in 1.81m to equal the record set by Shantae Foreman in 2018. However, Bernard wasn’t satisfied and again utilised her superb form to clear 1.83m on the first attempt to claim the record for herself.

Bernard won ahead of St Catherine's Gabrilla Treasure and Immaculate Conception's Grace-Ann Bailey, who cleared 1.68 and 1.65m respectively.

“This is really special because when I just started this was the only event, I could have done so I am happy that I have improved overtime and I want to thank my coach because without him, I couldn’t have jumped this height,” Bernard said shortly after the feat.

“I deserve to break the record because my coach and I have been working so hard, we did so many sessions to make it possible, so I think I deserve this and I am really proud of myself,” she added.

With the upcoming Carifta Games in Grenada also on her agenda, Bernard is also targeting another big performance at the March 28 to April 1 showpiece.

“I am looking forward to it. I know it will probably be even more competitive, but because of my hard work, I am confident in myself that I will do well. Hopefully I will dominate there as well,” she noted.

NB: The Carifta Games will be streamed live on SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

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