Cayman’s sporting and business community is excited at the prospect of the inaugural Cayman Invitational track and field meet being staged here because it will raise the sports profile internationally and boost the local economy significantly.
The Cayman Invitational will feature over 80 world-class athletes on 9 May at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. At the press conference to announce the meet on Saturday, Premier McKeeva Bush said that it will mark a new sporting era in the Islands.
“With the high visibility that international star athletes bring to any sports event, sports tourism offers a big boost to the Islands’ tourism product,” Bush said. “This event will take signature status in Cayman’s sports tourism roster as well as give local athletes the opportunity to see world-class pros in action.”
“Based on an idea developed by Cayman’s Cydonie Mothersill, the event is organised by the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development with a host of other sponsors, notably DART without whose contribution the event might not have become a reality,” he said. Thanking all the sponsors, he added that the ministry’s $75,000 investment “is money well spent”. Mothersill is the 2010 Commonwealth Games 200 metres champion who used her extensive contacts in the sport to pull it off.
Along with Mothersill, top names include American 100m and 200m champion Carmalita Jeter (world No.1 in 2011), Dylan Armstrong (current world No.1 in shot put), Novlene Williams (Jamaican semi-finalist at the Beijing Olympics in women’s 400m), Michael Frater (4x100m world record holding Jamaican team member) and Bahamian Olympic medallist Chris Brown (current world number four in men’s 400m).
Jeter will run in the 100m and Mothersill in the 200m. Cayman presence will include middle distance and CAC medallist Jon Rankin, sprinters Kemar Hyman and Tyrell Cuffy who are hoping to qualify for the London Olympics in July, 110m hurdler Ronald Forbes and long jump twins Carl and Carlos Morgan.
Mothersill said; “The aim is to make Cayman Invitational an annual event and form a trio of regional pro track and field meets with the Jamaican Invitational, which takes place in early May, followed by a meet in Puerto Rico.” The intention is to get top Jamaican athletes of the calibre of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell to compete here. Sponsors besides the Cayman Islands Government and Dart are Cayman Airways, DMS Broadcasting, LIME, Cayman National Bank, Water Authority and Cayman Free Press.
Noting that sports is progressing significantly in the Islands, Minister of Sports Mark Scotland said Cayman could look forward to Cydonie competing at home with other world class athletes and this meet gives local athletes the incentive to stick with the sport and realise their full potential.
Races featured will be the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m running events and the 100m, 110m and 400m hurdles.
The Cayman Invitational will feature over 80 world-class athletes on 9 May at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.