Olympians grateful for government support

 Jeffrey Webb’s ascension to CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president is no surprise to Minister of Sports Mark Scotland who believed in the Caymanian’s talent to reach the heights in sports administration over 20 years ago.  

Webb was given a magnificent reception at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Friday and he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honour from Premier McKeeva Bush.  

“When Jeff and I got together in 1991 he said to me that he wanted me to join the Cayman Islands Football Association executive because he had great plans,” Scotland said. “I knew then he had great potential. He’s proven that over the years through commitment, perseverance and hard work and fully deserves to be where he is today.  

“There are much more things for him to show us in football.” 

The government can take some credit for Webb’s success, backing his football projects when they could. The government has been the biggest sponsor in track and field too, with five Olympians lining up at the London Games which start on 27 July.  

On their way to London are track athletes Cydonie Mothersill, Ronald Forbes and Kemar Hyman as well as swimming brothers Brett and Shaune Fraser.  

“The team we’re sending to London is the best we’ve ever sent,” Scotland said. “We have five ‘A’ standard athletes in Cydonie Mothersill, Ronald Forbes, Kemar Hyman and Shaune and Brett Fraser. Four of them are elite class athletes, paid by the government on full-time contracts.  

“For Kemar we will be signing a contract with him in a short while. We couldn’t do it before because he was still at college. Those five along represents an expense of approximately a quarter of million dollars a year.  

“We’ve spent around $1 million on those athletes since we came into power three years ago, plus the expense on athletes who weren’t able to make it, like Rymiech Adolphus who went to Jamaica to try to qualify, plus Michael Letterlough, Carl and Carlos Morgan, Jon Rankin. So we’ve pumped well over $1m into our Olympic programme in the past three years since we came into government.  

“We’ve got to continue that support because Olympic athletes qualifying means motivation for younger athletes, like Alex Pascal who is going to burst onto the scene very soon and others like him.” 

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Cydonie Mothersill is going to her fifth Olympic Games.