Cayman’s track and field team is in good spirits as they hone themselves over the last few days before racing commences at the London Olympics.
Track queen Cydonie Mothersill is in the 200 metres from 6 August and battling to overcome a tendon injury to be competitive in her fifth Olympics.
Sprint hurdler Ronald Forbes is no longer troubled by an injury problem and worked so hard that he took the weekend off after a long and late night attending the opening ceremony on Friday.
Opening ceremony flag bearer Kemar Hyman has come on leaps and bounds in the 100m this year, lowering the national record to 9.95 seconds. He is in buoyant mood and inspired by the fact that his current form ranks him eighth of the competitors attending the Games.
That means there are strong hopes that Hyman can reach the final but the 22-year-old if he does get that far wants better than just reaching the last round. He runs from 4 August and Forbes is in action from 7 August.
“With a week to go I’m in really good shape and feeling fast and ready,” Hyman said. “I’m really feeling good and may have some nicks and pains but it only means me going to the ice tub and getting some massages.
“The great facilities here, I’m really feeling good about that. My intentions are to get through the rounds and if I get to the final, finish in the top three or four.
“It’s a big thing being at the Olympics but I think I can mature into it. As I go along I can really do my thing and I’m feeling good. We’ll just have to see.”
Mothersill, 34, said: “When I first went to the Olympics, I didn’t expect to be competing for this long. My favourite of all of them has to be Australia. I had a great time in Sydney, in 2000. I was still in college.
“The next best was Beijing, when I made the final, which I was hoping for. Here I am in London and we’ll see what happens.
“The first time, in Atlanta, I was only 18 and wasn’t ready for that type of competition but the experience was good. In 2004, in Athens, I was definitely ready but didn’t have race strategy.
“I ran too fast in the first two rounds and got knocked out in the semi-finals. So by 2008 it was a lot of wisdom, knowing what to do, that medals are not given out in the first, second or third rounds.
“So I’m definitely rounded from all the experience at these five Games.”
Mothersill’s coach Ian Weakly was a top hurdler for Jamaica, winning medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2006.
“Cydonie is a good friend of mine and we are former team-mates way back in college,” he said. “I feel honoured to be helping her to prepare at her fifth Olympics.
“I consider Cydonie a veteran and absolutely expect her to exceed her own expectations.”
Weakly has travelled the world as coach and competitor and is immensely impressed with the London set-up. “I’m very pleased with the housing and the food and have not heard any negative feedback so far,” he said.
“Everyone is comfortable here and excited for the track and field to start. Once the athletes are happy, then the excitement is going to build up and we’ll see it on the track.”
Forbes felt a little drained after spending many hours standing up and marching at the opening ceremony. He said: “We’ve been cranking it up all week. We had several days of great practice and I’m here also for support for Kemar and Cydonie and we’re just resting up our bodies to prepare for the final showdown.”
Coach Kenrick Williams, technical director of the Cayman Islands track and field programme, is pleased with Hyman’s elevated position.
“Kemar’s ranking means that he could be in the final,” Williams said. “This is something we are really looking forward to if he does and I hope he can produce his 9.95 seconds again to get there.
“Cydonie and Ronald are looking sharp and we expect great things from all of them. What we need from fans in the Cayman Islands is their prayers that they all keep healthy.
“The facilities in the village are very good, they’ve all settled in quite well. Kemar and Ronald are sharing a room because they are good friends and get on quite well.”
Williams was sharing a room with Doctor Dalton Watler, president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Athletics Association, but that did not last long.
“Mr. Watler has chased me out of his room because I snore too much,” Williams said, laughing. “So I am in the television room, which is large and comfortable so I don’t mind.
“We are meeting and greeting many of the celebrities, the basketball, hockey and track and field stars. Not only are the facilities good, the camaraderie is excellent with everybody inter-mingling.
“Lori Powell, our chef de mission, is really on the ball here, which makes our life much, much easier and comfortable which helps us fit in well in the village.”