CARIFTA Spotlight – Hayley Matthew
From the cricket pitch to the field, 17-year-old Hayley Matthew is a champion.
The CARIFTA gold medalist, who can hardly keep still, lives for sports in all its forms.
“I like sports, any sports you bring at me I’ll play. I enjoy being active all the time. From the time I was about six, I was always playing cricket, always outside with my brother and father so I just honed a love for all sports,” she said.
The humble Harrisonian is already known for feats in regional cricket as an all-rounder with the West Indies women’s team, but copping a CARIFTA gold medal in the Under-18 Girls’ javelin with a new career best of 47.37m, is a big deal for the sportswoman who plays hard.
“I was speechless, I was so happy. I actually fist pumped the air and everything. I was so happy, it was a good feeling!”
Hayley says it was the perfect payoff for her hard work and intense training ahead of the regional championship, which was hosted in St Kitts/Nevis over the Easter weekend.
“Every day after BSSAC you had a lot of training and I was just focusing a lot on my run up and my technique and a lot of stuff like that and from the time I was training I could tell things were going well. I was getting my footwork done well, I was getting the javelin released. It was just a lot of preparation.
“I knew I had some tough competition but I knew that once I did what I had to do I would have been a good contender,” she said.
Hayley dreams of representing her country at the Olympics in the future but quickly admits that cricket is her first love and she intends to give her all to the game.
“It’s amazing playing for the West Indies and I hope that takes me where I want to go,” she said.
The teenager says that it’s not easy juggling school, cricket and athletics but it has made her a better person and she has no regrets.
“It’s sometimes really trying to handle everything at once but it’s a matter of balancing. Playing sports has helped me to develop leadership skills, discipline and determination.”
The sports enthusiast is urging authorities to do more to support young athletes.
“Keep developing NAPSAC, BSSAC and weekend meets to ensure that all the athletes stay fit,” she suggested.
With CARIFTA out of the way, Hayley is turning attention fully to cricket.
She’s off to Sri Lanka for the first time with her team and she’s looking forward to producing a good all-round performance.
“There’s much more to come from Hayley,” she says with a chuckle.