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Bermuda invitational race meet

We always try to grab the chance to watch a live event here in Bermuda, especially if it has ‘International’ in it’s description. On Friday night we were at the island’s national stadium to watch the first Bermuda Invitatiomal Permit Atheltics Meet.

Athletes came from the USA, the Caribbean, Great Britain and Africa, and were joined by Bermuda’s best sprinters, hurdlers and middle distance runners. There was also a competitive line up for the men’s long jump and women’s high jump.

It was a chilly evening but there was a good crowd and although in traditional Bermuda style there were a few staging hiccups, the funniest involving the starter and the over-zealous DJ, it was a really good event. The organisers also threw in a couple of school races that were noisily supported but the main plaudits of the show were given to US Olympic hopeful Mike Rodgers, who won the 100 and 200m emphatically and Anna Willard, freshly out of retirement, who timed her finish in the 800m to absolute perfection.

We were sat right on the finish line and as Willard warmed up she genuinely looked more experienced and prepared than her baby-faced competitors. Me and the other half looked at each other and both said “she’s going to win.”

It wasn’t a particularly fast race but Willard spent 600m tucked in the pack and then sprung out wide and powered down the final 100m cheered on by the crowd to pip long time leader Alena Brooks of Trinidad and Megan Manley of the United States. I found out later that Willard is 32, and has come out of retirement to see if she can qualify for Rio, 8 years after she made the US team last time. I hope she does.

The most impressive Bermudians on show were Tyrone Smith and Tre Houston. Both earned podium finishes with Smith, competing in the long jump and grabbing 2nd whilst sprinter Houston was runner-up in the 200 behind Rogers. Smith and Houston have already already qualified for this summer’s Rio Olympic Games.

It was an enjoyable night, couple of beers, bit of live sport and home to bed. 

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