The fact that 100 metre runner Kemar Hyman has qualified for the London Olympics means that the Cayman Islands has three track athletes in the Games for the first time in its history.
Hyman joins fellow sprinter Cydonie Mothersill and 110 metres hurdler Ronald Forbes at the Games which runs from 27 July-12 August. Swimming brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser are the other Cayman qualifies.
Ken Harnden is the Director of Sprints at Florida State University. He said: “I wasn’t surprised at Kemar’s run. He has worked really hard this year and we know he is talented enough to run faster.
“Kemar has had a great year so far, two Cayman national records show that. I believe he can do well in London, it will be a great chance to learn what the best competition in the world is all about and it will no doubt enhance his career from there on.”
Hyman, 22, will run in the Cayman Invitational at the Truman Bodden Complex on 9 May.
Donald McLean, President of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, is pleased with the Olympic representation and hopes others will qualify too. “I am very impressed and excited,” McLean said. “All five have qualified to the ‘A’ standard so that means they are not just showing up, they are going to be competitive.”
Track Technical Director Kenrick Williams was coaching Hyman for years before he went to the US to study. Hyman was running for Florida State University when he qualified in the 100m two weeks ago. Williams said: “Everywhere I go everyone is so excited that Kemar has qualified from somewhere so small as the Cayman Islands. Even at CARIFTA in Bermuda everyone was congratulating me.
“I can see Cydonie getting to the 200 metre final again, Forbes getting past the second round this time and if Kemar can get to the semis he could take it to the next level.”
Brett Fraser was on island last week from his training base in Florida. He said: “Our preparation is going really well. We’ve been competing since early February, five meets in total, which is a lot more than usual. The training is tough, six hours a day, but we’re on top of it. We’re training with Ryan Lochte (one of the world’s best) and he’s a great inspiration.”
Brett is hopeful of getting to a final in London and possibly a medal place. “Last year my times would have put me in the semis at the Olympics. My aim is to get into at least one final and if I do that I’ll have a chance of a medal.
“The way we train is one of the best in the United States, if not in the world. So when we’re on the blocks I’m confident that we’ll have trained a little bit harder than everyone else.”
McLean added: “I was pleasantly surprised after Beijing when people came out in force after the Olympics to greet us at the airport. I really liked that outpouring. Support had until then been lackadaisical. Sport can help get a few youths off the streets. This is the most money we have ever put into our elite athletes programme. Being a world class competitor has become a full-time job, you can’t do it any other way.
“Sport is a vehicle to help motivate our youngsters. Other Caribbean countries do too. Cayman is seen as a powerhouse in swimming now.”
Williams added: “I too have seen the growth in sporting excellence here. I’ve seen the Frasers who went off to university for four years and with support from the Olympic Committee it is working. Jamaica is seen as the sprint capital of the world now but at the CARIFTA Games over the Easter weekend they only got two sprint meals. The Bahamas is the dominant country now in the Caribbean.”
One of McLean’s proudest moments was when he had to present gold and silver medals to Brett and Shaune at the Pan American Games last year. “I broke all protocol and didn’t stand there all stoically and punched my arms out in triumph. Great moment.” Brett added: “From middle and high school, high achievers should be marketed so that they can be inspired all the way to the top.”