It’s all in the genes

Dedication to sports can come about a number of ways.

It can take hard practice, an attraction to star athletes or simply come about as a right of passage in a sporting household.

For Avril Myers her passion for sports is influenced by all three, though her parents played the biggest role.

‘I am from a very athletic family,’ Myers says. ‘My mom was a sprinter back in the day and my dad used to play cricket and golf. My attraction to sports has passed down in the genes.

‘I would have to say my mom (Bridget Myers) influenced me the most. She was always behind me. She said I had the talent so I just had to put it to good use.’

Time has shown mom was right as Myers, 16, has shown great potential on the local sports scene.

The John Gray High School student is a local track and field athlete and netball player. She takes part in local track meets regularly and often travels with the Mustangs track club to events abroad.

She competed at the 2009 Truman Bodden track meet in George Town in March and was with the Mustangs and Coach Tyrone Yen for the University of the West Indies track and field meet in Jamaica in February.

On the netball side of things, young Avril is an up-and-coming player. This season she made a name for herself as an athletic enigma on the wing for Butler Properties All Stars.

The Bodden Town resident was a big part of the All Stars’ second place finish in the 2009 Cayman Islands Netball Association senior women’s league and their victory in the 2009 CINA Knockout competition in April.

As one of four children (her sisters are Monique and Lattisha Myers and brother is Rhoan Myers Jr.) Avril has come a long way in the sporting universe. The shy high school senior states her climb up the sporting stratosphere started from childhood.

‘I’ve been in sports ever since I was in primary school, competing at the Inter-Primary Sports day and playing netball for Savannah Primary.

‘I love sports, sports is my life. It helps not only physically but mentally and socially as well.’

From an early age Avril showed great footwork and leg strength. That would serve her well early on as she was named to the Cayman CARIFTA team as a 13 year-old back in 2006 in the shot-putt event.

In addition she emerged as a stand-out player in primary school netball. Eventually she would find her groove along the wing and become a solid Wing Defender.

Over the years her accolades would grow, especially in the track and field universe. She would silver in the girls shot-putt event at the 2008 Baytaf Meet in Tampa, Florida and was ranked as high 18th in the US track and field system in the girls 15-16 year old shot-putt with a throw of 32 feet last year.

With the UWI meet this year and the Baytaf meet last year, Myers has clocked some solid airline miles. However she is quick to point out she has been to other countries as well.

‘I’ve been to Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Santa Domingo, Jamaica, New York, Miami, Tampa, Turks and Caicos just to name a few.’

The accolades have continued to roll in this year. She was named Champion Girl for Year 12 at high school.

She also had the most points with a total of 32 points at her school’s sports day this year, winning all of her events namely: shot-putt, discus, javelin, 100m, 4x100m and 4x400m relay.

In addition Myers ranks in the top 20 in the US track and field system in shot-putt for her age.

Aside from training and being committed to the sport, a lot of Myers’ track exploits trace back to her desire to be like her idol, disgraced US track star Marion Jones.

‘I would have to say Marion Jones was my sporting heroine. Despite of what happened recently, I have always looked up to here as a role model ever since I was a little girl.’

Like Myers, Jones had talent in a number of events (though her forte was the 100m sprint). However she was exposed as a steroid-user in 2007 and was subsequently forced to return all her medals including her Olympic ones.

Even with her track and field prowess, Myers is quick to say she enjoys netball just as much.

‘I don’t have a favourite sport, I love track and I love netball just the same.’

In fact Myers went on to say both sports have made her into a better person.

‘Being active in sports and representing my country really helps me as a student, a young adult and an individual.

‘With sports always being there with me, it has taught me so much about life and how to handle it. Being a national representative for Cayman helps me as a young adult and an individual to open up more to people and just being able to even talk to people of any age, for example.

‘Both netball and track have helped in teaching me how to play and work as a team while being an individual. So both sports help me look at things in life in different ways and become a better person.’

With her high school graduation coming up this month Myers has her eyes squarely on the future. From going to college to chasing an Olympic appearance Myers has many visions in her head.

No matter what happens in the coming months sports will be sure to play a big part in her life.

‘I see sports taking me to college. The college scene will step things up a notch competition-wise and hopefully I can go to the Olympics in the next eight years or so.’