Robert Ibeh and Michael Letterlough make it look so easy. They are two of the best track athletes this country has ever produced. They also have plenty of personality and bright futures. Both recently graduated from universities in the U.S. and both were at Saturday’s Truman Bodden Track Meet. Several years ago they would have been just two more nervous kids hoping to compete well and not embarrass themselves. Now, however, the former junior stars all grown up and carry themselves like winners in every way. Their presence on Saturday showed their desire to stay connected to the sport locally. Sprinter Ibeh showed his smooth strides in the men’s 400 meters while discus and hammer-throw man Letterlough officiated the weight events. Although they have been away at school for years and now harbor serious dreams of competing in the Olympic Games next year, it seems clear that Letterlough and Ibeh won’t forget their deep Cayman roots.
Letterlough is now the proud holder of a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Florida International University. Keep your eye on him. He already presents himself like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Polite and polished, he radiates a confidence far beyond his years. Letterlough’s immediate plans have him training in Gainesville, Florida for the next three months. From there he plans to travel to Indiana where he will train under Dr. Larry Judge who has coached two U.S. record holders.
‘My goal is to train hard, compete in the Olympics and be a better citizen for the Cayman Islands,’ said Letterlough. ‘I’m just hoping to get the full financial backing I need in order to do this the way I need to do it. I have some generous sponsors already but I still need a little more help.’
Robert Ibeh is another real live walking and talking role model for Cayman’s youth. The 100 and 200 meter specialist recently graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in Health services administration with a minor in business administration.
‘For the next six months I will be working and training, balancing out the two,’ said Ibeh. ‘I will be training and I intend to go to the Olympics [Beijing 2008] in the 200 and 100 meters, and possibly the 4X100 meters if we can qualify.’
Ibeh feels indebted to the sport that has helped to shape him into an impressive young man that is as comfortable in a suit and tie as he is a track uniform.
‘I will be in this sport for the rest of my life in some form or another,’ he declared. ‘I’ve been competing since I was about 9 years old and I will still be doing it for decades to come.’
Ibeh says he is optimistic about the future of Cayman’s track and field program.
‘There is a strong base that is rising up now,’ he said. ‘If they just stay in it-and I think they will with a lot of support from parents and coaches-the sport is really going to grow.’
Anyone interested in supporting Michael Letterlough with his training needs in the coming months may contact him by email at [email protected] or phone 786-586-0693.