Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is scheduled to compete later this spring in Grand Cayman during the second annual Cayman Invitational track and field meet.
Bolt – a six-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holding sprinter – is slated to lead a cast including fellow Olympians on 8 May when more than 80 athletes take to the Truman Bodden Sports Complex to compete in 12 track and two field events.
He will compete in either the 100 metres or 200m, organisers announced Wednesday.
Organised by the Cayman Islands’ own Commonwealth Games gold medallist Cydonie Mothersill of KyStar Athletics, the Cayman Invitational is fast becoming an important fixture among the annual calendar for the world’s leading track and field stars.
Bolt, a 26-year-old Jamaican, is one of the world’s most celebrated sportsmen and the local sports complex is likely to be filled to the rafters.
Ms Mothersill said: “The stadium can only hold 4,500 and we are bringing in bleachers to accommodate and we’re trying to get to 5,000. That’s why everybody should get their tickets quite early. Tickets will be available later this month.
“The prices will be pretty much the same as last year but you can go online on www.caymaninvitational.com for the information,” she added. “We’re going to have the same ticket locations as last year and I think we’re going to work it out with the Caymanian Compass (media sponsors) to have it online for international travellers.”
Ms Mothersill won the women’s 200 metres race at last year’s inaugural Cayman Invitational, but she is opting out this time.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be competing in this year’s event. Last year it was very stressful and even though I appreciated the cheers from the crowd I was very disappointed with my time and so I will not be competing but we will have all the top local athletes competing.
“We will also be inviting all the primary schools to participate in the relays.”
Ms Mothersill also announced that Beijing Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart, Olympic record holder Melanie Walker, London Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment and London Olympic relay gold medallist Chris Brown will be among the international athletes participating.
Local track and field stars Kemar Hyman, Ronald Forbes, Jon Rankin, Carl and Carlos Morgan and Tyrell Cuffy also are slated to compete.
“We are absolutely delighted we have been able to draw athletes of the highest calibre to participate in the 2013 Cayman Invitational and are sure that the high regard in which the event is already held has assisted us in attracting the likes of Usain Bolt,” Ms Mothersill said.
Last summer in London, Bolt became the first man to win six Olympic sprinting gold medals and the first to win the 100m and 200m titles in consecutive Olympic Games.
Bolt hails from Sherwood Content in the parish of Trelawny. He has dazzled the sprint circuit since bursting onto the senior circuit five years ago but had already earned significant achievements at the junior level.
He has shattered world records, including his own, and established himself as the highest earning athlete in the history of track and field through lucrative endorsement deals.
“I’m looking forward to running in Cayman on 8 May,” Mr. Bolt said. “I have not competed there before, but my coach (Glenn Mills) was there last year and spoke well about the event.
“Sprinting in the Caribbean is stronger than ever and it is great to see new track and field meets starting up.
“Cydonie has done great things for her country on the track and is now working hard to develop opportunities for others. I hope my presence in Cayman will inspire the youth and contribute to the development of the sport.”
The Cayman Invitational is listed on the North American, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association calendar as an area permit meet and is certified by the governing body and sanctioned by the Cayman Islands Athletic Association.
Ms Mothersill said she hopes that many people, particularly youngsters, will come out in support.
“I have been extremely fortunate to make a successful career from athletics, but just as important have been the many other benefits I have gained from the sport, such as self-discipline and the development of a strong work ethic,” she said.
“It is our hope that young people in Cayman will be encouraged by watching their sporting heroes perform live and be motivated to achieve great things themselves.”