The Cayman Islands government will help fund the islands’ biggest track meet.
The government intends to grant roughly $20,000 to organizing group KYSTAR Athletics, owned by Caymanian sprint queen Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, for the third annual Cayman Invitational.
Bodden Town Member of the Legislative Assembly Alva Suckoo addressed government’s involvement on behalf of Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden at a press conference last week’.
“What government is injecting is in total $20,000 cash, with Cayman Airways tickets there as well,” Suckoo said. “We have seen how much it benefits young athletes. Having world-class athletes work alongside our athletes is very beneficial. The visits to the schools gets the kids interested and some are inspired to be world-class athletes.
“Cydonie is integral to sports in the Cayman Islands and whatever we in government can do to support her, we will do.”
The meet, to be held on May 7 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, will feature a bevy of male and female Olympic athletes. Headlining the invitational will be Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown, who will run the 100 meters. Campbell-Brown is a seven-time Olympic medalist, nine-time world champion medalist and only the second woman in the history of athletics to win two consecutive Olympic 200m events. She is also one of only nine athletes to win the world championships at the youth, junior and senior levels at an athletic event.
Olympian Allyson Felix of the United States will be competing here for the first time. She is currently one of the top females in the 200m event, winning gold and silver at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. America’s Dawn Harper will be competing in the 100m hurdles and is a 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist and a 2012 London silver medalist. Harper is the only American 100m hurdler to ever win gold at an Olympics and then medal in the following Olympics.
Another newcomer is American 400m hurdler Dalila Mohamed, a recent graduate from the University of Southern California and one of the world’s premier 400m hurdlers after winning a silver medal at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.
Murielle Ahoure from the Ivory Coast will be returning to Cayman for the meet. The 100m sprinter is a double silver medalist at the Moscow world championships and the world indoor championships. Novlene Williams-Mills also competed at last year’s Cayman Invitational and is a three-time Olympic bronze medalist in the 4X400m relay and Commonwealth bronze medalist in the 400m. Williams-Mills is a breast cancer survivor who helped Jamaica win a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games 4X400m relay, despite the detection of the disease just before the Games.
On the men’s side, 100m sprinter Kim Collins from St. Kitts and Nevis will be back. Collins is a four-time Olympian, two-time Olympic medalist, four-time bronze medalist, Commonwealth and world champion gold medalist. Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment will return to compete in the 110m hurdlers. Parchment is a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and national record holder in the 110m hurdler.
Meet director Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, a former Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, expressed her delight with the level of competitors coming here.
“We are truly fortunate to be able to welcome some of the world’s most exciting athletes to our third Cayman Invitational track meet,” Mothersill-Stephens said. “These athletes are currently competing at the highest level and we are thrilled that they view the Cayman Invitational as such an important event in the international athletics season and are therefore willing to compete here in the Cayman Islands.”
Tickets go on sale on April 9 at LIME in Galleria Plaza, Funky Tangs on Shedden Road and JN Money Services on Eastern Avenue. Prices vary depending on the location: $40 for the finish line, $35 for the Grandstand and $25 for the Mackie Seymour Grandstand.