Twins seek identical backing

They are identical twins whose track careers have run parallel with their academic progress and now the Morgan brothers are totally focused on becoming champions.  

Only trouble is they are struggling to find the financial backing to make it happen. This news comes at a time when the government’s Elite Athletics Programme is under scrutiny for its declining payments to the small group who put their hearts and souls into representing their country. 

Carlos Morgan is a sprinter and long jump specialist who is married to an American and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two small children. He works as a warehouse assistant.  

Carl is based here and survives on a the generosity of family, occasional donations and coaching stints. 

The 26-year-old siblings are only seeking around $2,500 per month each to focus completely on emulating the likes of Cydonie Mothersill, Kareem Streete-Thompson, Kemar Hyman, Ronald Forbes and the swimming Fraser brothers, Shaune and Brett, but the funds have not materialised. And they feel that time is running out. 

“It’s been tough for the past couple of years just trying to compete,” said Carl. “We have been struggling as far as finances goes.  

“After completing our masters in 2010 we thought it would become a little easier, but the transition hasn’t been as smooth as we thought it would be.  

“We need financial support to get to the next level by training like others full-time and get the supplements and nutrients like them.” 

They are coached by Ian Dube, President of Georgia USA track and Field association, who they found through local coach Jerry Harper.  

Before that they coached themselves and also had a three-month stint with Streete-Thompson at Florida State University in Tallahassee in preparation for the Central America and Caribbean Games and the Commonwealth Games.  

Trying to cram in heavy training in a limited time backfired as they picked up injuries. The fact that Carlos is on his feet for eight hours a day at work did not help either.  

“I’ve spent all of my savings and get some help from parents,” Carl said. “I do summer camps when I can. I can’t work in the US based on paperwork. 

“I believe I should be an elite athlete but I’m not sure what they are basing it on and their criteria.” 

Carl’s confidence stems from last year leaping 8.02 metres, the second longest in Cayman history after Streete-Thompson’s 8.35m. 

The fact that Carl’s jump came in Athens, Georgia last March in his first meet of the year highlights his potential.  

“My coach had high expectations based on what he saw me do in training. But we could not recover based on not having adequate rest, nor get the sufficient supplementation.  

“We truly believe that we have not reached our full potential and there’s a lot more to go.” 

They are both occasional triple jumpers too. This year they intend to do more sprinting, particularly relays.  

Carl is actually the 400m, triple jump indoor and 400m indoor national record holder.  

“I truly believe I would have qualified for the London Olympics long jump finals had I been there. To qualify for the Games the ‘B’ standard was 8.10m and the ‘A’ standard 8.25m.” 

Injuries and a bizarre lifting accident that affected his lower back thwarted his hopes.  

Despite the lack of cash, the siblings are determined to get to the world championships in Moscow, Russia in August.  

“Our coach really believes that we’re capable of jumping 8.30m. My 8.02m jump I rushed my landing and cut off a least a few inches.  

“After we analysed the video, coach Dube said I messed up a lot and there were some technical aspects we can work on.  

“After I accomplish this, I can show at least to other Caymanians that application is the key. All you have to do is apply yourselves the way you need to do. I know we have a lot of talent here.” 

If Carlos can get funding he will try to find an easier job which does not entail standing all day or maybe keep the same job but reduce his hours.  

Some of Cayman’s local athletes like David Hamil and Rhymiech Adolphus have helped Carl keep going. Hamil paid for his gym membership at King’s Sports Centre.  

Carl will go to Georgia next month in preparation for a meet the following month and stay with Carlos in Marette. 

Carlos opens his season in April. Carl’s agent Joseph Codrington has set him up to compete in Trinidad and Tobago on 9 March.  

“Some of the meets I’ll be in I’ll get an appearance fee. In Trinidad, my agent has worked it out so that they pay for everything.” 

Thankfully, just as this article was going to press, the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee came through for Carl with $3,000 initially and $1,000 monthly payment for the time being. He is extremely grateful. But it is not quite enough.  

If the Morgans make the world championships, they expect on past history that 8.10m will be the mark to reach the finals which they believe with good preparation is an achievable ambition.  

“After jumping 8.10m it’s anyone’s game because once you get to that final it’s upon that day what you can do. 

“Many people have jumped longer but when it comes to competition it is all about what you can do.” 

The Morgans feel because they have always had to compete not as well prepared as their rivals this has prepared them well for when their path to a major meet is smooth, 

“I’ve been used to being uncomfortable.  

“I’m hoping that government will soon come on board and support Carlos and I for a few years. We have a lot to give back to the Cayman Islands. 

“If they help us in some way then it will at least help other athletes realise their dreams, knowing that they can also make it, knowing that they came from the same background.  

“I strongly believe that if the government does in the near future have its financial situation sorted out then they can sponsor us.” 

At the inaugural Cayman Invitational in May 2012, Carl and Carlos did not do too well in the long jump but the same story of not having resources, distractions including media interviews and time to fully prepare hampered them. 

Carl believes it will be different in the next Cayman Invitational and they will take the first two places. It all really depends on that certain issue over money.