Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, will compete here next week – and so will his female equivalent.
The second annual Cayman Invitational track and field meet is on 8 May at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex and has attracted some of the world’s top athletes, including the world’s fastest woman, American athlete Carmelita “The Jet” Jeter.
An Olympic gold medal winner, Jeter has carved an impressive career and credits strong support as a huge motivating factor in her success.
“My greatest influence is my college coach Warren Edmonson,” she said. “He was the first coach to truly believe in my talent and encouraged me every day to be better.”
In general, Jeter said she believed that having strong backing from family and friends makes all the difference to the success of young athletes.
“I think in life in general there are many obstacles that can interfere in a child’s life, that I’m sure they won’t be prepared for,” she said.
“But if a child has support it will make any obstacles a lot easier. To know they have someone to scream their name at a game or track meet, or even just rub their back and say ‘next time’ will make a big difference in a child’s life.”
Strong support in Jeter’s career led her to becoming California State University’s first US Olympics trials qualifier.
She continued her success by achieving third place in the 100 metres in the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
Then she participated in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea and won two golds in the 100m and the 4 x 100m relay and one silver medal in the 200m.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Jeter won gold in the 4 x 100m relay, silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m.
Sharing a glimpse of her tough training schedule and stressing the importance of hard work, Jeter said training for the 100m is totally different from training for the 200m.
“I noticed when I trained for the 200m I had to do a lot more distance work like 400m and 500m and for me, being a true sprinter, it was not fun,” she said. “However, I knew it was important if I wanted to run the 200m.”
A highlight of her career was meeting American President Barack Obama and actually being known to him.
“When I met President Obama I was very shocked he knew who I was. He pointed just like I did once I crossed the finish line at the Olympic Games. Now that was a moment to remember, the president remembered me!”
While there are still opportunities for sponsorship of this exciting event, the following organisations have already pledged their support: CI Government – Office of the Premier (Platinum Sponsor); Cayman Airways, Dart, VTB (all Gold Sponsors); LIME, PUMA, Tower (all Silver Sponsors) and Hot 104.1FM, National Building Society, Water Authority, Western Union and Casa Luna (all Bronze Sponsors).
STATS AT A GLANCE
Over 100 athletes competing
Over 20 countries represented
Attendance will be around 5,000
Six Caymanian athletes will compete