Track fever is building in anticipation of Usain Bolt, Carmelita Jeter and a supporting cast of world-class athletes coming here for the second annual Cayman Invitational in a couple of weeks.
It will be a sensational evening of track and field competition headed by the world’s fastest man and woman at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 8 May.
Organised by Cayman’s track queen Cydonie Mothersill, she is doing her bit to raise funds for this meet through her company KyStar Athletics.
Mothersill handed over a $6,100 cheque to Dalton Watler, president of the Cayman Islands Athletic Association recently, proceeds of a special lunch – Dine With The Olympians – she organised at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort last year.
It was attended by Jamaican track stars Asafa Powell, Warren Weir, Michael Frater, as well as Bolt’s coach, Glenn Mills, and Bahamian 400 metres relay Olympic gold medallist Chris Brown.
With Mothersill and Watler at the cheque handover at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex were Barbara Wilson, who is the assistant secretary of the track association, and Maxine Anglin, an association executive member.
“I’m pleased,” Mothersill said. “We had hoped to raise more monies however this was out first year hosting this event and I’m grateful to all the sponsors and everyone who came out and support this worthy cause.
“I am a product of this association and anything possible I can do to assist I will,” she said. “I am grateful for the support I received from my fellow athletes as it was for a good cause.”
The invitational is imminent and things are going according to plan, Mothersill said.
“Tickets are almost sold out, I am encouraging everyone to go out and get their tickets early so we can all have the opportunities to see the awesome line up in store,” she said.
“Usain is looking forward to coming here. As you know, he has never been here before. It should be a spectacular event, one I’m sure that no sports fan will forget.
“The other athletes are excited about competing in Cayman. Carmelita came last year and is excited to come back.
“The feedback that we’ve received from the athletes has been very positive and everyone is looking forward to being here.
“The Cayman athletes are also looking forward to competing at home. They are Kemar Hyman, Ronald Forbes, Jon Rankin, Tyrell Cuffy, the Morgan twins, Carl and Carlos, and we have some other local athletes that we’re hoping will meet the entry standards to compete.
“We will also have national races for our youngsters so that the general public will have an opportunity to see our up and coming athletes and show their support.”
“I expected Cydonie to give me $100,000,” a grateful Watler joked. “Yes, of course, every little money helps towards the programmes.
“As I told Cydonie from day one, we will always do our best to support the event. It’s a win-win situation for us because the event will propel the young athletes to be like the professional ones at the same time Cydonie organises her meet she will be able to provide us with some funds that are badly needed.
“Most of the time when we get funds it’s for the young development athletes,” he added. “We also need to send teams away, to the Pan Am Junior Championships in Colombia, to the Central America and Caribbean Championships Juniors in Curacao and the World Championships.
“We also would like to bring two coaches from Cuba. So all the funds will go towards that.
Bolt, 26, who took three gold medals at the London Olympics, is already regarded as the greatest sprinter ever. He also won three golds at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
His exploits on the track and charismatic personality have made him an international icon, transcending sport.
Jamaican sprinter Kerron Stewart, 110m hurdler Hansle Parchment, 400m hurdler Melanie Walker and the Bahamas’ 400m runner Chris “Fireman” Brown are among many top pros on their way.
Extra bleachers are being brought into the Truman Bodden Sports Complex for the meet in anticipation of a record crowd in excess of 5,000 people.
More than 80 athletes, including Cayman’s finest, will compete in 12 track and two field events at the meet.
Jeter, who headlined the inaugural event last year, has said she is excited about returning to Grand Cayman.