Cayman Islands athletes are preparing to test their skills, muscles and nerve against those of athletes from 70 other countries at the XVIII Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, this month.
The Commonwealth Games were first held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1930, then called the British Empire Games. Athletes from 11 countries participated. Since that time the Games have evolved into the second-largest sporting event in the world. Now athletes from 71 countries participate in 16 sports. In 1962 the name was changed to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. From 1966 to 1974 they were called the British Commonwealth Games, and 1978 they have been known as the Commonwealth Games. Games have been conducted every four years except for 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.
Cayman’s team, made up of 30 athletes and officials, will compete in five sports – athletics, cycling, shooting, squash and swimming. It is the largest contingent of athletes these Islands have ever sent to the Games, and they will be competing in more disciplines than any previous team, said CI Olympic president Donald McLean.
‘It will be an amazing Games. The people of Australia are avid sports fans. I believe they will be well attended and have enthusiastic crowds,’ he said.
Chef de Mission Lori Powell said she is excited that the Cayman Islands will have such strong representation at the Games.
‘We have four Olympians – Cydonie Mothersill, Shaune Fraser, Andrew Mcakay and Kareem Streete-Thompson, who captured a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England – and athletes who have Commonwealth Games experience,’ she said.
Mr. McLean also pointed out that most of athletes are collegians who are away on sports scholarships. ‘While this made things difficult to organise because everyone is so spread out, it shows that our athletes have a lot of potential,’ he said.