What went wrong in Rhodes?

Committee chairman assesses Cayman’s Island Games performance

The Cayman Islands was looking for a high finish in the medals race at last month’s Island Games in Rhodes, Greece. Forced to settle for an eighth-place finish, however, some are wondering what happened. Richard Parchment, chairman of Cayman’s Island Games Committee, is not shy about offering his take on why Caymanian athletes did not bring home more medals.

Richard Parchment

Richard Parchment, chairman of Caymans Island Games Committee

‘We are disappointed in the medal count, no doubt about it,’ said Parchment. ‘We had our own problems but probably the biggest reason we didn’t win more is because the organization at these Games was by far the worst ever. I couldn’t believe some of the things that happened. We had athletes that actually had to pay for their own taxis just to get to their venues. It was ridiculous. Rhodes really let us down with the organization.’

Parchment also cited problems with Cayman’s mix of older and younger athletes.

‘Our youth just didn’t mesh with our more experienced athletes as well as I had hoped they would,’ he said. ‘That hurt us.’

The Cayman Islands basketball teams failed to earn medals as the men finished sixth and the women ended up last. Parchment points to the lack of adequate training facilities here at home for the biggest reason for that result. To prepare for these games, Cayman’s national basketball teams had to rent time at a local church’s facility. Hardly ideal, says Parchment. ‘It’s just not good enough,’ he said. ‘We need a proper court to train and compete on in order to get ready for important competitions. We have talent but we have to prepare.’

Parchment’s frank comments should not be interpreted as all doom and gloom. There was plenty to be happy about in Rhodes, he stresses. For example, he points out the fine performance of the Cayman shooters and the big gold medal performance for Cayman in men’s beach volleyball.

Track and field was a highpoint as well, according to Parchment. ‘I think our track athletes did so well because we set tough standards a few years ago,’ he explained. ‘We decided we wouldn’t take anyone just so they could take a trip. You have to be very good to make our team and it has lead to success.’

He also praised the efforts of the tennis athletes and swimmers for their memorable performances.

Parchment has high hopes for the next Island Games. Set for Aland, a Finnish province in the Baltic Sea, he expects those games to be very well organized. He also expects to field larger swimming and athletic squads.

‘We can definitely rise in the medal count,’ Parchment added. ‘If we improve our facilities and keep getting support from the community, we will do well.’

The chairman thanked Butterfield Bank for taking on the role of primary sponsor for the 2007 Cayman Islands Island Games team. Other ‘vital’ sponsors are: CUC, Maples and Calder, Cayman Airways, Progressive Distributors, Car City, Ritz Carlton, Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, and the Cayman Islands Sports Ministry.

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