The Caribbean’s greatest junior athletics tournament, Carifta, will be held in Cayman next year.
Champions of the calibre of Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Cayman’s own Cydonie Mothersill started their careers in Carifta and this will be an opportunity for local athletes to showcase their talents in front of their own fans.
It will be held at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex over the Easter weekend, April 3-5.
Rayle Roberts is president of the Cayman Islands Athletic Association. He said: ‘I’m very excited. This is full circle for me as I competed in Carifta years ago. It’s an honour for me to have competed in the Carifta Games and now to be able to take a team and my country there, words can’t explain that right now.
‘It’s at Easter and no one should be going anywhere then! I think it’s very important to have our athletes supported by their home crowd.
‘There are a lot of other nationalities on this island who will come out in force and we need to give our athletes the home crowd advantage.
‘Our athletes notice when they go around the world the big crowds cheering for everyone and they still bring home medals. It’s going to be a force.’
The budget to host Carifta is a modest $500,000 of which the government is putting up $100,000 and the rest must come from sponsorship.
Sports Minister Mark Scotland said: ‘It wasn’t difficult for me to convince the cabinet to support this because they realize the importance of supporting our youth and youth development generally, plus the importance of sports tourism. So it’s a win-win for us by hosting this tournament.
‘Half a million budget is surprising when you consider there will be 600 athletes here. Our athletes being showcased on their home track and the opportunities that will arise from that are tremendous.’