Cayman’s next generation of track stars are gearing up for their latest challenge.
The youngsters are being groomed by coach Tyrone Yen for a trip to India next month.
They are off to the Commonwealth Youth Games which were first heldd in 2000 in Scotland. The next one was in Australia four years ago and this one is in Pune. The team will be away from October 10-20.
Cayman is taking eight athletes, five girls and three boys; Joseph Suberan and Steven Reid (both 100 and 200 metres), Travis Webb (high and long jumps) Chantelle Morris and Gizel Wright (100m and 200m), Alexandra Terry (discus), Jahzenia Thomas (long jump and 100m relay), Ashleigh Nalty (long and high jump and 100m relay).
Webb is the only one of the group who medalled at the Carifta Games earlier this year, getting a bronze in the Under-17 boys high jump.
Yen said: ‘We’re looking for bigger things, not from Travis alone, but from the whole team. They really put in the work.
‘The competition is open to athletes aged 18 and under. Our team is very young. Chantelle, Gizel and Ashleigh are only 14. Out of the eight kids only about four of them is at the top end of the age group.
‘It’s almost a replica of the senior Commonwealth Games. They will have boxing, shooting, archery… you name it. All the other sports.
‘As a coach I am always optimistic. It doesn’t matter who I’m with, I know they’re going to give their best. Yes, the medal is an incentive but if we can a lot of personal records that’s good enough. We’re using this tournament as preparation for the world youth championships next year in Italy. This could be a stepping stone for qualification for them.
‘It’s unfortunate that these Games are coming now, so early in our season, but we just have to go with it. We’ve been preparing over the last four to six weeks and training is going well.
‘We thank the Ministry of Sports for this new facility, especially the Honourable Minister Alden McLaughlin and the Department of Sports, Dalton Watler.
‘In fact, everybody who played a part in making this facility as first-class as it is right now. We really suffered the last year when we didn’t have much facility.
‘I thought the kids would have done a lot better in St Kitts this year at the Carifta Games but unfortunately because of lack of facility and preparation that didn’t happen.
‘It’s hurricane season and we just got spared twice but hopefully we will pass through this one without damage to the whole of Cayman as well as the facility. I hope that God will spare us.’