The fastest – and greatest showman – in athletics is in the Cayman Islands for Wednesday night’s Cayman Invitational track meet.
Usain “Lightning” Bolt heads a star-studded cast of world class athletes for the second staging of the annual meet organised by Cayman track queen Cydonie Mothersill.
She has pulled off another coup in bringing over the 26-year-old Jamaican, owner of six Olympic gold medals and numerous world titles and records.
Bolt had a slight hamstring strain last week and pulled out of Saturday’s Jamaican Invitational but is fit for the showpiece 100 metres at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in front of a packed house of 5,000. It is his first 100m of the season leading up to the world championships in Moscow, Russia in August.
After all the uncertainty of the past few days, there is overwhelming relief that Bolt is here and will definitely run.
In the women’s 100m is the world’s fastest woman, Carmelita Jeter, who returns after her triumph here last year.
At a press conference at the Marriott hotel on Monday, American Jeter said: “I’m really glad I’m able to come back and support the Cayman Invitational.
“It was definitely on my schedule for this year. Last year was such a great meet and I wanted to come back and support Cydonie and her husband Ato.
“I’m really pleased to be here. I can’t wait to run and can’t wait to see the fans again. I’m excited to go out to the kids’ clinic today and go out and talk to them.
“This is a very good meet that goes around the community and I’m happy to be here.”
Her sentiment was echoed by fellow athletes there Hansle Parchment (110m hurdles), Lashinda Demus (400m hurdles), Novlene Williams-Mills (400m) and Luguelin Santos (400m).
Cayman athletes competing too are Kemar Hyman (100m), Tyrell Cuffy (200m), Ronald Forbes (110m hurdles), Jon Rankin (1500m) and the long jumping Morgan twins Carlos and Carl.
Of the locals, Forbes is possibly the most excited because he had to pull out of this meet last year a mere few hours before through injury.
He races against London Olympics bronze medallist Parchment and hopes to be pulled through to a fast early season time.
“This year I feel like a completely different person,” Forbes said. “I’ve gotten over all the injuries I’ve had.
“Right now I feel in really great shape and been running some great practices. It’s 10 years since I last competed in my home country and I’m really looking forward to it.”
They all confirmed that their excitement at being in the same meet as Bolt who lifts the atmosphere above all others at every event he competes in.