Cayman has a world class teenage sprinter who is already capable of beating most adult athletes.
Chantelle Morrison is only 15 yet at the Carifta Games in St. Lucia on Easter Sunday, she ran the 100 metres in 11.68 seconds to capture a bronze medal.
There were two Jamaicans ahead of her, the winner only by two tenths of a second and the silver medallist by a hair’s breath.
It bodes well for Morrison that she is so close in ability to the world’s best who are actually a year older. So she is arguably the fastest 15-year-old girl in the world!
The winner was Dion Gray-Whitehorn and the silver medallist was Sherisa Morton. Morrison also came seventh in the 200m final.
‘I thought I could medal but there were still some doubts in my mind,’ Morrison said on a visit to the Compass offices, medal proudly dangling from her neck.
‘I knew I could run a fast time but wasn’t sure that the time would actually get me a medal, so that was nice.
‘My mum and dad (Eaton and Olive Morrison) are so proud. They’re really excited.’
Morrison is trained by coach Tyrone Yen. He has always believed in her ability and is looking forward to more triumphs.
Yen said: ‘Over the years, with her progress coming through, we really expected it, but the finishing time was another thing.
‘Next year she’s in the same age group, Under-17s and again we’re expecting bigger things in both the 100m and 200m when she’ll be at the top of that age group.
‘I did believe she could medal this time round. The Carifta Games is one of the leading lights in the Caribbean age-group championships and in the world it is second to none.
‘Going there I was really optimistic of her chances and she got really better as the championships went on.
‘In the preliminaries she ran 11.72 seconds and won in excess of 10 metres. She got into the finals with the second fastest time and knew there was the chance of getting a medal.
‘But, of course, Carifta is very competitive and you can’t let your guard down.’
Yen says that it is too early to expect Olympic and World Championship medals from her in the future and it’s best to focus on youth competition at present.
‘Next year is the World Junior Olympics in Singapore and we look forward to that. After she finishes her junior year, she’ll get a scholarship and move on to a US college.’
Yen wanted Morrison to compete in the World Youth Championships in Italy this summer but they changed the age categories and she is still too young. She’ll be 16 in January.
He won’t put her in the Pan Am Under-20 Games but she is likely to compete at the Island Games in June in Arland, near Finland where he thinks she’ll win 100m and 200m.
She’ll definitely compete at a meet in Tampa next month in the 100m
‘Chantelle was brilliant in St. Lucia. Apart from her medal, she gave a gutsy performance in the 200m. She had to race five times in three days and considering she had to travel two hours each way from where we were staying to the arena, she did exceptionally well. All the other Cayman athletes did well too under the circumstances.’
Track technical director Kenrick Williams guided Cydonie Mothersill to 100m and 200m gold 13 years ago in Jamaica.
He said: ‘Chantelle is fantastic. It’s too early to compare her to Cydonie, but she definitely has the credentials to be world class if she stays healthy and focused.’