Not bad for doing it on short notice

The gauntlet was thrown down only
eight months ago and like a worthy gold medallist Cayman rose magnificently to
the challenge.

Normally countries that host the
CARIFTA Games are given two years to prepare but when the US Virgin Islands
pulled out over visa issues last year, the Cayman Islands was entrusted with
the responsibility to pull it off.

Led by Rayle Roberts, president of
the athletics association, with Evelyn Rockett, Delroy Murray, an army of
volunteers, a supportive government and coaches Kenrick Williams and Tyrone Yen
preparing the athletes, it was a success despite the inevitable glitches along
the way. 

Chantelle Morrison lived up to expectations
and won gold in the 100 metres Under-17 girls final, Cydonie Mothersill finally
received her bronze medal for the 200m from the 2001 World Championships and
the sensational Kirani James confirmed that he could be soon challenging Usain
Bolt as the fastest man in the world.

Joel Francis was on the local
organising committee. He said: “One of the highlights for me besides Chantelle
winning gold was to see Cydonie receive Cayman’s first World Championship medal
on home soil from the president of the IAAF Lamine Diack.

“The track was in superb condition
and extremely fast which accounts for seven championship records being set in
the first two days.

“The way the crowds came out –
especially the Caymanians who were very sporting and cheered everyone – was
something to marvel as well.

“The officiating went extremely
well and to have put it all together on only eight months’ notice was very
pleasing considering how many agencies were involved.

“A Trinidadian gentleman said to me
that he had been to five CARIFTAs and this was the best organised and punctual
he had attended.

“Everything went on time, including
the events and medal presentations and he was impressed.

“CARIFTA has been great exposure
for Cayman considering it was televised for the first time and there was live
streaming on the internet. We have had many positive messages about the
coverage including texts from the UK.

“On the sports development
front too, many youngsters are showing an interest in taking up track and
field. So overall we have generated an all round positive impression.”