Confidence is high that the Cayman Islands can earn sporting glory in a regional showcase.
Cayman is sending some 84 athletes over 11 events to the 2013 NatWest Island Games taking place in Hamilton, Bermuda between 13 and 19 July. Most of the local talent will depart on Thursday, 11 July.
Carl Brown serves as assistant general manager for the Cayman contingent and said medal expectations are high.
“The initial feeling is this will be a very strong one for us,” Brown said. “The Island Games are mostly dominated by the European islands and we’re contending with Olympic-level athletes and world-class athletes in every discipline. But this is the first time the Games are over in our hemisphere and Cayman should walk away with a high medal count.”
The Cayman team will consist of: athletics – Rhymeich Adolphus, Amelia Gillespie, David Hamil, Brandon Johnson, Derek Larner, Tahj Lewis, Troy Long, Carl Morgan, Carlos Morgan, Ashleigh Nalty, Alex Pascal, Mitchum Sanford; cycling – Andrew McLaughlin, Michele Smith; golf – Joel Dodson, Isabel Lawson, Emily Ribbins, Brian Ross, Bob Slatter, Samantha Widmer, Matthew Wight, Michael Wight.
Gymnastics – Hilary Cockhill, Bethany Dikau, Jessica Lloyd, Lyne Lloyd, Morgan Lloyd, Kelly Paz, Haley Willkom; sailboarding – Andrew Petts; sailing – Rob Jackson; shooting – Christopher Jackson, Edison McLean, Kevin Schirn; squash – Eilidh Bridgeman, Carolyn Chaloner, Mark Chaloner, Jaclyn Geils, Julian Jervis, Gabriel Rabess, Janet Sairsingh, Cameron Stafford, Marlene West.
Swimming – Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, Andy Copley, Brett Fraser, Shaune Fraser, Alex McCallum, Coral Tomascik; triathlon – Kara Donnelly, Johan Heath, Phil Senior; volleyball (beach) – Cristin Alexander, Richard Campbell, Philippe Deslandes, Cassim Fareed Hosein, Shervin Rankin, Olney Thompson, Noel Williams, Jessica Wolfenden.
Volleyball (indoor) – Kristina Bramwell (physio), Krista Ebanks, Miki Herrick, Keith Higgins, Stacy-Ann Kelly, Kristen Kuzyk, Anita Lansdell, Sarah-Joy Manoy, Deirdre McFarlane, Kennedy McGowan, Gina Powery, Ileann Powery, Curtis Richards, Davison Ruwende, Chante Smith-Johnson.
Several other people are also making the trip in: spectators – Kahlil Rankin-Cummings (volleyball); Laura Cockhill, Elizabeth Dikau, Erwin Dikau, Donald Lloyd, Elizabeth Lloyd, Kevin Lloyd, Ryan Lloyd (gymnastics); Maria Butler, Simon Butler, Steven Butler, Jim Fraser, Brigitte Tomascik, Vladimir Tomascik, Dagmar Wojcicki (swimming).
The technical officials are Cassim Fareed Hosein and Tom McCallum.
Brown is being joined in Bermuda by officials like Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald McLean and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell. Brown said the logistics of carrying that many people is daunting.
“We have Cayman Islands Games Association President Richard Parchment going with us, Victor Thompson as team general manager, new Minister of Sports Osbourne ‘Ozzie’ Bodden is slated to attend and Lori Powell is not travelling with us though she was part of the team’s organisation.
“On the logistics side, it usually takes more flying time and some readjustments to climate and time zone differences. It takes a day to travel and there’s a number of available routes like Cayman to Miami to Bermuda or Cayman to New York to Bermuda. Most teams leave on the 11th, some left earlier. For example, the shooting team has been very busy and they’re coming from an event in Europe.”
While athletics and swimming are standard disciplines for Cayman to tackle at the Island Games, some sports like gymnastics and sailboarding feature for the first time. Expectations will be high for the Fraser brothers, Widmer and Pascal to lead the medal hunt.
Brown said the competition will be a showcase for local talent.
“The Island Games consist of sporting activities Cayman is already involved in. It’s 24 countries, island nations with a population of 150,000 people or less and the competition is Olympic-style. It’s a very intense, highly competitive affair that has been around for over 20 years. Cayman joined in 1997, our first games were in Sweden in 1999 and our last Games were in Isle of Wight in 2011.
“It has become a platform for our Olympians and record holders as a precursor for other international games. Cayman has a number of records involving athletics and athletes like Cydonie Mothersill. At this point, we thank Maples, Butterfield, the Olympic committee and the Cayman government for making our participation this year possible.”