Track queen Cydonie Mothersill will race in the Cayman Islands for the first time as a professional thanks to government helping her realise a burning ambition.
Premier McKeeva Bush has announced plans for the inaugural Cayman Invitational track and field meet, which plans to feature athletes competing in multiple events. The Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development is the title sponsor.
The evening competition is on 9 May at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex and will feature more than 80 world class athletes. The athletes will use this meet as a warm up for the 2012 Olympic Games in July. Events will include the 1,500 metres, 100m, 800m, 100m hurdles, 110m hurdles, 400m, 200m and 400m hurdles.
The line up for the inaugural event includes American 100m and 200m runner Carmalita Jeter, ranked No. 1 in the world last year. Also slated to compete are Dylan Armstrong, the Canadian record holder and current world No. 1 in shot put, Novlene Williams, the Jamaican semifinalist during the Beijing Olympic Games in the women’s 400m, Michael Frater, a member of the Jamaican 4x100m world record breaking team and Bahamian Olympic medallist Chris Brown, who is ranked No. 4 in the 400m.
Mothersill, who turned 34 on Monday, said the idea to host an invitational track meet in Cayman was mooted years ago, but it was through the commitment and generous contributions from several sponsors along with the premier and the Ministry of Tourism that her dream became reality. She last raced competitively here in the CARIFTA Games in 1995.
“I am extremely honoured and humbled to be in a position to bring an event of this level to my home country and I am looking forward to introducing my colleagues, other pro athletes to Cayman,” the 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist said. “Along with my team of organisers, we hope to host an exciting event that will thrill audiences and attract athletes to compete on our shores year after year.”
The Cayman Invitational is a few days after the Jamaican Invitational, which is regarded as the premier regional event for sporting enthusiasts. The Cayman Invitational is intended to become an annual fixture on the track calendar and, after a few years, organisers hope to achieve World Challenger status and be included on the official International Amateur Athletic Federation calendar.
Jeter will run the 100m and Mothersill the 200m.
Premier Bush hopes it will become a signature event on Cayman’s sports tourism calendar. He said: “I believe that this event will mark the beginning of a new sporting era in our country. This competition will bring positive interest in the Cayman Islands internationally and produce socio-economic benefits for our people.”
Mothersill said: “Together with our sponsors the Cayman Islands government, DART, Cayman Airways, dms Broadcasting, LIME, Cayman National Bank, Water Authority and Cayman Free Press we look forward to a successful inaugural event that will become a highly anticipated edition to Cayman’s events calendar.”
Mark Scotland, Minister of Sports, said: “Congratulations to Cydonnie for pulling off the first professional meet to be held here. Meets like these will inspire youngsters.”