The NatWest Island Games are coming and a wide field of athletes are gearing up for competition in Aland, near Filand at the end of the month.
They run from June 27-July 4 and at least 90 Cayman athletes will compete.
Victor Thompson is Games Team Manager. He said: ‘The Island Games invite only small islands communities with populations of 100,000 or less to compete against other islands with similar standards of performance.
‘All local associations over the years have set criteria for athletes to qualify for the games in order to remain competitive. The games are held every other year, and now include 14 different sports and 25 islands.
‘These Games continue to be a large stepping stone for our athletes, the level of competition has risen, and they remain the only Games that can include non-Caymanian competitors alongside their Caymanian team mates.
‘In last games we placed sixth out of 25 countries and have won an average of 26 medals at each of the Games.
‘Due to the continued improvement of our swimming and track athletes in international competitions, we are poised do well in these 2009 games.
‘We are cognizant of the fact that both the Government and the private sector have had to make cutbacks in their budgets recently.
‘However, the Ministry of Sports recognizes the importance of sports participation and has committed its continued support of the Island Games Association in the form of assistance with the team accommodation costs.
‘The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee Maples and Butterfield also assists us with funds for these games.
‘Unfortunately, their donations will not cover the full cost so we must again seek financial assistance from our private sector partners.’
The Cayman team consisting of athletics, basketball, sailing, shooting, swimming, tennis, tolf, and volleyball.
The swimming team is a good one but with an average of only 16 may lack experience. They are Joel Rombough, 19, Lara Butler, 14, Tori Flowers, 13, Summer Flowers, 16, and Seiji Groome, 15.
Swim coach Dominic Ross said: ‘Four of five swimmers representing Cayman at this year’s Island Games will be doing so for the first time at this competition. Joel will be returning for his second Island Games.
‘The standard of the competition has steadily improved over the past ten years so we look forward to some excellent and high level racing.
‘The Flowers girls, Tori and Summer will be focusing on the distance freestyle events this time around, as will Joel.
‘Seiji’s main focus will be on the breaststroke and individual medley events although he will also be trying his hand at some others while Lara will too be branching out in to a variety of events while concentrating mainly on the IM events.
‘This will be a tough competition for these swimmers without a doubt but we expect them to do well and to continue to strive to improve themselves at each meet.
‘Their training has been strong and I believe will continue to get better as the competition approaches.
‘They are all now experienced enough competitors that they should not be phased by the competition but instead be able just to put their heads down and get on with the business at hand.’