The Carifta Games will be held at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the spring which will be a huge boost for local athletes.
Cayman host the Games from 3-5 April, during the Easter break.
When the Cariftas were hosted here in 1995, present Cayman athletics technical director Kenrick Williams was coaching in his Jamaica homeland.
Williams sent his adopted son, Rohan McDonald, to watch the Cariftas. Sprinter McDonald was supposed to compete but was injured. Another Jamaican, Roy Bailey, won the 100 and 200 metres titles.
‘1995 was a good year for me and also for the Cayman Islands,’ Williams said. ‘To move on to 2010 is a great joy. Cydonie Mothersill came to train with me in 1996 and she won the Austin Sealey award as best athlete in winning the 100m and 200m.
‘We have the calibre of athletes in the Cayman Islands, like Chantelle Morrison, who are potential gold medalists. Travis Webb is another. Mitchell Forbes (sprints) and Ashleigh Nalty (high jump) are also potential medalists.
‘Our best Carifta haul was 1999 when we got five medals and in 1997 at the CAC we got seven medals, so we are looking to better that next year.
‘We are not scared of the Jamaicans. We have the ammunition that if they fire at us we can defend ourselves and fire back at them.’
Evelyn Rockett-McLaughlin is deputy co-chairperson of the organising committee.
‘I’ve been around Cayman track and field for many years. I started coaching Cydonie when she was 10,’ she said.
‘This is a big thrill as it was in 1995 because it was such a momentous occasion for Cayman to host such a big event. We’re looking forward to 2010, I know it’s going to be even better.
‘Carifta is like a family affair. There’s lots of festivity, lots of music and good competition. At the end of it the athletes forget who competed against whom and it’s about friendship and a big love-party at the end, sharing of cultures and friendships.
‘Sometimes it’s the start of life-long friendships. For example, Debbie Ferguson from the Bahamas, is still very good friends with Cydonie despite them competing in Carifta and also on the world stage.
‘It’s an opportunity for our young people in the region to mix and mingle and exchange cultures and it’s a wonderful, wholesome event.’