Record breaker: Luan Gabriel, left, crosses the finishing line to collect gold in the 200 metres. *Photo supplied
Record breaker: Luan Gabriel, left, crosses the finishing line to collect gold in the 200 metres. *Photo supplied
1
2

WEDNESDAY, APR. 11: She is just 15.

And she does most of her training on a grass track in a park close to her home surrounded by cricketers and footballers.

But Luan Gabriel’s incredible display of stellar sprinting at this year’s CARIFTA Games could have just earned her a place on the Dominica squad for the London Olympics.

The prodigious young talent won gold on Monday evening in the 200 metres final, edging out two fine Jamaican sprinters.

And in so doing she picked up her country’s first track gold in the history of the CARIFTA Games and smashed her country’s national record.

Luan told the Sun: “I came to Bermuda to win the gold.

“So I am very excited and happy to have fulfilled that dream.

“That was a really tough race with the two Jamaican girls, but I was confident in my own ability.

“It feels great to make history for Dominica and I am ready to do more good things for my country. This is just the beginning.”

Luan was part of a four-strong Dominica team that came to Bermuda from the small island in the Caribbean for this year’s CARIFTA Games.

She lives in a small village called Bioche on the west coast of the island with her mother Cyrillia Hilton. Her father, Felix Gabriel, died in 2007.

Luan added: “I do a lot of my training in the local park with my coaches. We do not have many athletics facilities in Dominica.

“The park is close to my home and it is called Benjamin Park. The running track is marked out on the grass.

“The park is also used for cricket and football and it is open to the public.

“The ground is a bit bumpy in parts but it is nice to run on. I think it helps with my track running and makes me faster.

“I train there between 3pm and 5pm, five days a week. Although sometimes I get the chance to go to Trinidad and use the facilities over there too.

“My mother was a runner when she was young, so I think I get my speed from my mum and my strength from my dad.”

Luan left Bermuda yesterday and will spend the coming weeks preparing for the Central American and Caribbean Junior Games in June.

But her performance in Bermuda means she could still be considered for the Dominica team that travels to London for the Olympics later this summer.

She said: “That would be an amazing experience if I got the opportunity to go to London.

“I really hope that I will get that chance.”

The manager of the Dominica team and former Olympian Cedric Harris added: “What Luan has done in Bermuda is very big for us.

“She represents history in the making. We are only a small country with around 70,000 people. Most people play football or cricket.

“But I think Luan doing what she has done here will open the door to other female athletes in Dominica.

“There are more boys interested in athletics than girls, but athletics is still not a big sport in Dominica. So what she has done will help I am sure.

“For Luan athletics can be a lonely sport and the facilities on the island are not that great.

“But she is very dedicated and she has a good coach in Nabi Wallace.

“She can achieve great things for her country on the track, I am sure of it.”