Cayman Islands sprinter Kemar Hyman gave his confidence a huge boost ahead of the London Olympics by winning the 100 metres at the Meeting de Madrid with a 9.95 seconds run on Saturday.
It improved his old Cayman Islands record from 10.04 seconds. The Games start on 27 July. In the semi-final in Spain Hyman managed a string of personal best in running 9.95 seconds twice. It was his first-ever sub-10 second performance and the 22-year-old also grabbed a Madrid all-comers best aided by a nearly perfect tailwind of 1.8m/secs, which is 0.2/secs under the legal limit.
In the final, Hyman delivered again, equaling his 9.95 seconds but this time with an over the legal limit wind of 3.8m/secs. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey Cole was second in 9.98 seconds while Marc Burns of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 10.08 seconds.
Hyman said: “Honestly, I didn’t expect to run that fast today.” On his London ambitions, he said: “It would be nice to be in the top three but my first target is to get through the rounds.”
Hyman is a glowing example of all the resources the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and the government has given since spotting his potential as a child. The government deserves plenty of credit for ploughing huge sums into the sports programme which is reflected in the fact that for a country so small there are five ‘A’ standard Olympians; track athletes Hyman, Cydonie Mothersill, Ronald Forbes and the swimming brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser. A few others have got close too.
At the Olympic send-off the week before at Ortanique restaurant in Camana Bay, Hyman said: “I’m really excited about the Games. I’ve really trained hard for them and mentally and physically I’m really prepared and I just want to go out there and get the support from my country and parents and everyone else and give a good show.
“My hopes are to get through the rounds and having done real well this year, getting through rounds and being consistent, that is one of the main things I want to do heading into the Games. That’s the only thing that’s going to guarantee me getting into the final.”
Hyman was bristling with confidence then and must be even more so now. He said: “The workouts I’ve been doing, my coach Ken Harden said all signs lead to me going sub-10 seconds. I’ve tied the 100m record with Kareem Streete-Thompson and broken it, so it is possible.
When I ran 10.07 seconds, I thought that was it and I might only maintain, but I’ve shown that I’m really strong this year and broke it again with 10.04 seconds. On a good day anything can happen.”
Hyman was not surprised that Yohan Blake beat Usain Bolt in the Jamaica national trials two weeks ago. He has raced Blake since they were juniors and always respected his ability. “I’ve raced against Blake numerous times and to see that transition of him running 9.75 seconds now from 10.5 when we were really young is really amazing.
“I don’t think Bolt is going backwards. He doesn’t have off years and maybe this could be it, but I wouldn’t count him out because at any moment he could just surprise everyone and run a 9.5 seconds because he is the world record holder.
“Definitely watch Blake because he’s an up and coming star who has also run 19.2 seconds in the 200m. He’s right behind Bolt and he’s young. So giving him more years, he definitely can have the record, so we’ll see.”
Hyman fourth in the inaugural Cayman Invitational two months ago behind Blake. They say hello but are not friends because of the rivalry on the track. Blake beat him by a substantial margin that night. But the gap is closing.