The Cayman Islands Post Office kicked off the Olympic reception in style with a $6,000 cheque.
It was to support the Olympic Fundraising Committee to help finance young Caymanians pursuing the Olympic dream.
The reception to honour the corporate sponsors and the athletes was held at Abacus Restaurant at Camana Bay and was jointly hosted by the Olympic Committee and its Fundraising Committee last Tuesday.
The Olympic Committee president, Donald McLean, congratulated Cydonie Mothersill and Ronald Forbes in track and field as well as brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser in swimming for getting to Beijing.
Sports Minister Alden McLaughlin congratulated the athletes attending the Olympics. ‘To have four athletes qualify for the Olympics is no small achievement, especially for a country with such a small population,’ McLaughlin said.
‘You have to train for several years in order to get to the Olympics and it is not an easy road. I commend every single one of our athletes and their families who have supported them.’
Preparing for this year’s Olympics in Beijing has been one of the most organised that it has ever been explained McLean, who extended special appreciation to the Olympic Committee COO, Annie Mae Roffey.
McLean also took the moment to remind guests that sport is one of few activities that can overcome political, racial, religious and cultural differences.
‘Consequently, the underlying philosophy of the Olympics is world wide peace, a movement to bring countries together,’ he said.
‘There will be 204 countries going to the Olympics this year, which makes it the largest number in history with Iraq now recently being re-instated to send their athletes to the Games.’
Acting Postmaster General Ann James said: ‘We are proud to have such a high calibre of Cayman Islands athletes to represent us at the Games.’
She noted that the Post Office has issued stamps on the Olympics since 1968, years before the Olympic Committee was organised to support aspiring Caymanian athletes.
Another highlight of the evening was the announcement of two large donations to the Olympic Fundraising Committee: US$10,000 from Atlantic Star Ltd. and another personal cheque of US $10,000 from the company’s director Fahad Al Rashid.
‘I was really touched and very surprised by this wonderful gesture,’ said Olympic Fundraising Chair, Betty Baraud. ‘He really picked up the spirit a notch. We will use these donations to kick off the fundraising for the 2009 to 2012 quadrennial.’
Olympic officials going to Beijing are: McLean; Secretary General, Carson Ebanks; Chef de Mission, Lori Powell; Beijing Attaché, Matthew Bishop; physiotherapist, Pier Ann Brown; athletics coach, Kenrick Williams; swimming coach, Dominic Ross and Mothersill’s personal coach Mark Block.
Baraud and past president Jerris Miller will also be attending the Olympics as well as Shurna Robbins as the official pool journalist for the Games.
In addition, Courtney Stafford and Joseph Jackson will be the two younsters attending the 2008 Beijing Youth Camp.
The Cayman Islands Government is the largest supporter of the Caymanian athletes in their pursuit of the Olympic dream. The SAAD Group was the single platinum sponsor in the amount of $15,000; along with numerous gold, silver and bronze sponsors. CIOC thanked them all on behalf of the athletes.