The first ever Cayman Invitational track meet was held at Truman Bodden three weeks ago, one that saw a slew of world-class runners show off their speed and athleticism. Among the runners, world champion Yohan Blake was featured, who recorded a time of 9.84 seconds in the 100 meter dash. This was the second fastest time of the year, only two tenths behind his Jamaican counterpart Usain Bolt who ran a time of 9.82s a couple days earlier in Kingston. Carmelita Jeter also competed, recording a time of 11.04 in the women’s 100m.
This event, however, wasn’t exclusive to just world class competitors. Local schools were invited to send teams to compete against one another and share the experience. Triple C representative Ryan Nugent was one of the runners and he spoke about his time at the event, “I felt proud to represent my school, we did well” he said, “It meant a lot to me and Cayman as a whole, it builds spirit and inspires participation in track and field. It also shows local runners how fierce international competition is and it gives them a taste of the big stage.” Nugent was lucky enough to warm up with the international superstars Blake and Jeter, and went on to say that, “They’re great role models. They were friendly and down-to-earth. The perfect example of staying true to who you are while knowing how famous you’ve made yourself.”
This event did a lot for Cayman’s track hopefuls, inspiring them to do better and perhaps pursue a professional career in running, “Participating and watching Yohan Blake run has made me seriously consider a career in the sport. I’m starting to practice for the 100m as soon as I can, “ Nugent went on to say, “It was incredible watching Yohan Blake shoot off like a rocket from the starting blocks.”
The event got international attention, attracting sports networks such as ESPN to write about it and report the results of the meet. Having stars visit and compete in the Cayman Islands has boosted moral and brought light to an otherwise less-than-popular sport here. Along with the international attention, it also inspires the youth of Cayman to compete in such events and aspire to athletes such as Carmelita Jeter and Yohan Blake.