Track stars shine this summer

Performances by local athletes in regional and international sport meets continue to improve – especially those of younger sports persons – in various athletics events.

Last month, Cayman participated in the Pan American Junior Championships in Florida. Alex Pascal, one of the youngest participants, scored a personal best in the javelin throw, placing ninth overall. He is now ranked number two in the Caribbean in this event.

Cayman’s national track and field team also attended the Central America and Caribbean Senior Championships in Puerto Rico. There local runner Jon Rankin captured third place in the 1,500meter race, taking the bronze medal behind Venezuela and Mexico. Carl Morgan placed fourth in the long jump.

Other team members at that meet were Carlos Morgan (long jump); Michael Letterlough (hammer throw); Ronald Forbes (110m hurdles); Kemar Hyman (100m sprint) and Junior Hines (400m hurdles). The athletes were accompanied by national track and field Coach Kenrick Williams and Manager Michael Naulty.

Coach Williams reported that most team members were trying to achieve the ’A’ or ’B’ standards required for participation in this month’s Senior World Championships in South Korea.

Ronald Forbes has already qualified for the 110m hurdles in Korea, but he used the CAC meet to gauge his personal performance. Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens has also qualified for Korea’s 200m race but didn’t attend the CAC Games.

Continuing his active support of sports and athletics, Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mark Scotland congratulated the team members and officials.

“At the same time they’re striving for personal bests, these young people are making their team – and the Cayman Islands – proud of their spirit of excellence,” Scotland said.

In spite of some injuries and other setbacks, national team athletes also did well earlier in the season. During May’s CARIFTA Games, Cayman’s Jorel Belafonte won a silver medal in the 1,500m race.

Then at the Islands Games, Cayman won four gold medals (in long jump, triple jump, relay, and 100m), three silvers (hammer throw, 200m and 400m) and two bronze (100m and hurdles). In so doing, they also set two new records, in the relay and triple jump.

There was more to come, for in last month’s World Youth Championships in France, Alex Pascal outdid himself, scoring a personal record in the javelin throw.

Cayman’s Women’s and Under-19 rugby teams have also had winning seasons. The defining moment was the boys U19 team claiming the U19 trophy on home soil.

South Korea apart, Cayman’s athletes still have a few more events to attend this season. Brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser swam in the International Swimming Federation’s World Championships in Shanghai with Shaune scoring an Olympic berth.

Other coming events include the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man in September and October’s Senior Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Outside of those events, Cayman got another positive with Kareem Streete-Thompson gaining an assistant coaching job at the University of Missouri, a National Collegiate Athletics Association division one school in the US.

For more information on Cayman athletics, contact the Sports Department on 949-7082.

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