Cayman sprint queen Cydonie Mothersill is excited about the new track under construction at the Truman Bodden Complex. It’s a multi-million dollar project that will be of a high enough standard to host international meets.
The world renowned sprinter has not run here for 12 long years and when it’s laid by around May, she cannot wait to compete in George Town.
‘It’s long overdue. I’m so excited that we’re actually getting a brand new track and I hope it leads to opportunities for us to having international meets. It doesn’t have to be on a big magnitude but just give local athletes the chance. Even myself, I haven’t competed in Cayman since 1995. I’m not getting any younger people! ‘So it would be nice for me to run at least one more time at home in front of my crowd. If it is ready before Beijing that will be fantastic.
‘Sports provides an outlet when there is nothing. When I was younger sports provided an outlet for me to do something good, to make me feel good about myself. And the fact that we have this new track now I hope it will be well kept and we’ll appreciate that a lot of countries don’t have what we have. It’s great that this plan has gone forward.’
Mothersill is still glowing having been given bronze last week for the 200m at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada in 2001. She came fifth in that race but because Kelli White – and more recently Marion Jones – have had to return their medals because of drug scandals, she has been elevated to third. Jones won that event and White was fourth. Mothersill, 29, gets bronze behind Bahamian Debbie Ferguson who collects gold and American LaTasha Jenkins’ silver.
Mothersill is adamant that drug cheats need to be identified and punished in the sport. In reference to an article last week in this paper she wants it made clear that she made no reference to Asafa Powell being under scrutiny for drugs.
It seems that the temptation to take performance-enhancing drugs is endemic in not just track and field but all sports, she feels. ‘I just think that in all sports there is so much money involved. And it’s not just Americans, athletes all over the world realise that there is so much easy money, no one thinks about the consequences. They don’t think that if they decide to use drugs, sure they’ll get the glitz and the glamour but what happens if they get caught? It’s not one particular country, I just think that it’s so prevalent in our sport that even if you educate them it’s about personal integrity.’
With the Beijing Olympics only 10 months away, the countdown is certainly on. ‘Next year should be exciting. Not just in track but just sports in general in Grand Cayman because we have a good crop of athletes coming up and I’m sure when one of the senior athletes does well, it gives them motivation. We’re not at the forefront in Cayman, I don’t know why, I guess track is just not the national sport but not just me, but Shaune (Fraser, the swimmer) Kemar Hyman, Tyrell (Cuffy) and others should get more recognition. They’re a great bunch of guys.’
Her husband, Ato Modibo, 28, is a top Trinidadian 400m runner. The highlight for him this year was finishing tenth overall in the World Championships in Osaka, Japan and doing a season’s best. He is looking forward to Beijing and anxious to get to the final. His personal record is 44.87 seconds which he knows needs to improve to get among the medals. Trinidad and Tobago’s best 400m runner, he is aware that some talented Trini youngsters could emerge before the Olympics. ‘Rene Quow, for instance, is very good.’
They are a celebrity couple, been married for exactly three years. They met at Clemson University in South Carolina eight years ago.
Evidently a happy unison, Modibo can only see positives in their relationship. ‘Well in my sight, it’s only highs. Lows is when you have a bad day but I turn that into a high, being supportive and all that. I try not to focus too much on a low. There’s always competition in everything we do but we keep it fun.’
They are totally immersed in preparing for the Olympics. ‘The focus is on Beijing and the World Championships after that. Anything is possible in Beijing. We’re training very hard, as hard as we can, harder than last year. Cydonie is very talented and once she keeps her focus, anything can happen. Same for myself. I just need to run smart, run hard and anything can happen against these guys. It’s just about getting into the finals.’
He loves spending time here. ‘Cayman is beautiful but it’s nothing like home to me. It’s smaller but it’s nice. I’m from Gasparillo, down south.’
Like his wife, he wants to see the elimination of drugs from the sport. ‘I hope they catch the cheaters and deal with them to the severest extent that they should and the righteous way.’