Team Cayman Islands expects to put in some inspiring performances on the track and in the field for the 48th annual CARIFTA Games at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
In recent history, Team Cayman has done well at the regional track and field meet. In 2016, the team was led by then U18 Lacee Barnes and won seven medals (2 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze). Barnes herself led by example with a gold in the shot put and silver in the discus.
While one less medal came in 2017, the colours were brighter with three gold. Jamal Walton, who competed in the U20 section then, won gold in the 200m and silver in the 400m. Barnes won the U20 girls’ shot put gold and Dominic Dyer’s 5,000m U20 victory accounted for the other Cayman gold medals.
The Cayman Islands won five medals in 2018 (1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) and are planning to build on that for 2019.
The Cayman Islands team is loaded with talent and inspiring stories and will have home crowd support as an advantage when they take to the newly upgraded track.
19-year old Rasheem Brown, who two years ago ran 13.70 behind Jamaican Dejour Russell’s 13.19 in the U18 boys’ 110mH, will lead the team this year and run his favourite 110m hurdles and 100m events.
“I’m looking forward to finishing in the top three in both the 100 and 110mh,” he said of his CARIFTA goals. “It’s my last CARIFTA and my home country earned the opportunity to host so I want to represent well.”
Brown, who has two CARIFTA medals to his name, is well aware of the pressure surrounding competing at home.
“I will be mentally and physically prepared to execute when the time is right. At the same time, I’ve got to keep in mind to never underestimate my competitors. The key is to be prepared and dominate.”
All the athletes in the 52 strong team have worked hard and many have overcome significant setbacks. James Crooks had two eye surgeries that prevented him from training for close to six months but he persevered, qualified and is getting ready to compete at home. Juan Pablo Valerio would have been included in the 2018 team but had to undergo a minor surgery which prevented him from taking part in the Bahamas. He worked hard to come back, qualify and make the team.
Louis Gordon, who trains with Kingston College (KC) in Jamaica, is a strong medal contender for Cayman in the U20 boys’ high jump and Levi Superville could also get on the podium in the U17 1500m.
The team is ready to represent their country at home and win or lose the country is ready to support them.
Photo credit: Cayman Sports Buzz