As the London Olympics approach in July several Caymanians are frantically attempting to achieve the qualifying mark to reach the Games.
Sprinter Rhymiech Adolphus is one of them and he has a better chance than most because he has just secured funding from the government to train in Jamaica with the celebrated Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and their coach Glenn Mills for up to three months.
“My season is going very well so far,” said Adolphus. “Now I plan to get off and compete with the elite. My coach Kenrick Williams has set me up to perform the best that I can and so far this year I’ve run the 100 metres in 10.58 seconds in the Cayman Islands. I’m looking forward to going to Racers Track Club in Kingston to train with Bolt and Blake.”
Adolphus, 24, could also possibly go to a high performance camp in Florida where another Caymanian sprinter, Tyrell Cuffy, is another putting in the work hoping to become an Olympian. Kemar Hyman is a third sprinting hopeful. They are all trying to get down to 10.25 seconds, the Olympic ‘B’ mark.
“I know I can qualify,” insisted Adolphus. “I just need to put in the work and excel to that next level.”
He is one of the most decorated sprinters in Cayman Islands track history but feels he never received the support to become world class. Only Kareem Street-Thompson was decorated more than Adolphus. Nevertheless, the customs officer hopes it is not too late.
He knows what it takes to be a champion having first represented Cayman at the CARIFTAs at only 13. He won three CARIFTA medals in total. The government funding is a blessing because juggling a demanding full-time job to fit around training is exhausting. “It is kind of hard but with God anything is possible.
“If I go to the Olympics, my goal is to get to the finals, be a top eight finisher. You don’t know what will happen until you get there. Just feeling the atmosphere and around the pros makes me what to train hard and take it to the next level.”
His best 100m time is 10.34 seconds set at the Miami Classics five years ago. “I feel much stronger now than then and I’m sure I can reach the mark.”
So too does coach Williams who said: “Rhymiech has a good chance of qualifying. He has a great work ethic, is very ambitious and seems to know what he wants. It is achievable.”
Mark Scotland, Minister of Sports, said: “The Cayman Islands Athletics Association has pushed us through the president, Dalton Watler, and Rhymiech has been pushing us for some time as well. Other athletes come to us for assistance but they obviously have to prove that they have the potential to accomplish what they say.
“So to qualify for the Olympics, Rhymiech has been doing very well. He won an event here recently and his personal best is very close to an Olympic ‘B’ qualifying time.
“We’re talking to his coaches and the CIAA and the excellent coaching and preparation he can get in Jamaica through coach Mills and the camp over there, he has a good chance of qualifying. So we’re going to give him full support for the next three months to see whether he can make it or not.
“We hope he can because if we can get another athlete on the Olympic team it will be good. I also understand that Kemar Hyman who is off in school in the States is close to qualifying as well and over the weekend Carl Morgan had an exceptional long jump.
“He upped his personal best from about 7.79 metres to 8.02 which is a huge improvement. But he has to get around 8.1 for the Olympics. We’re getting up there and hope we can get some more athletes qualifying.”