Toast of CARIFTA Games 2022
Sixteen-year-old Adaejah Hodge of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was the toast of the 49th CARIFTA Games held over three days in Kingston, Jamaica, April 16-18. She won the Austin Sealy Award reserved for the athlete voted the most outstanding at each renewal of the Games.
Among former and current athletes who have won the coveted Austin Sealy are 100m-200m sprinters Usain Bolt and Briana Williams of Jamaica, Quarter-milers Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and Kirani James of Grenada, and hurdler Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago.
Competing in the Under-17 category this year, Hodge won the long jump with a wind-aided 6.20 meters, the 100m in 11.29secs, and the 200m in 23.42secs.
Hodge was born in Puerto Rico, and days later her mother (who was born in the US Virgin Islands and went to live in the BVI) took her home to the BVI where she raised her. The young athlete now lives and attends high school in Georgia, USA, where she is coached by Kenneth Jones of Legacy Athletics Club and Dwight Phillips, a US multiple World long jump champion.
She is the first Austin Sealy Award winner from the BVI since the CARIFTA Games began in 1972.
The BVI finished third at this year’s edition with seven medals (four gold, two silver, one bronze) the most the territory has won and the highest position they have ever finished on the medal table. Jamaica topped the standings with 92 medals, 45 of them gold, ahead of the Bahamas with 17, four of them gold, the same as the BVI.