Cayman names Commonwealth team

The Cayman Islands are ready to compete on one of the world’s biggest international stages.

The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association officially announced the Cayman team taking part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games from July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland. The squad will feature 28 athletes across seven sports – athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash and swimming. Olympic Committee president Donald McLean said the size of the team is historic. 

“This is the largest team that we have ever sent to a Commonwealth Games, in more sports than ever represented and we’re extremely excited to support our athletes who have worked so hard to get here,” Mr. McLean said. 

Rhymiech Adolphus, Tyrell Cuffy, Ronald Forbes, David Hamil, Kemar Hyman, Troy Long, Carl Morgan, Carlos Morgan, Ashleigh Nalty and Alex Pascal form the athletics contingent. Squash features Myron Blair, Eilidh Bridgeman, Julian Jervis, Daniel Murphy, Cameron Stafford and Marlene West. Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, David Ebanks, Brett Fraser, Lauren Hew and Alex McCallum are the swimmers. Christopher Jackson, Edison McLean and Andrew Schirn form the shooting team with gymnast Bethany Dikau, boxer Tafari Ebanks and cyclist Michele Smith rounding out the competitors. 

Cayman is being represented in gymnastics for the first time, Olympic hopefuls Tafari Ebanks and Alex Pascal are making their much-anticipated debuts and the swimmers – especially Fraser and Lara Butler – are the frontrunners to bring home a medal. On the whole, most of the athletes are familiar faces within the local sports fraternity due to their national and international exploits. 

A podium finish would follow on the heels of track star Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens’s efforts four years ago, when she won Cayman’s first and only gold medal in athletics at the 2010 Games in Delhi, India. According to the Olympic Committee, she is now officially retired and stays involved in track and field through organizing the annual Cayman Invitational meet and serving as first vice president for the Cayman Islands Amateur Athletics Association. 

Mrs. Mothersill-Stephens, 36, said she will be rooting for her countrymen from the sidelines. 

“I have accomplished what I’ve wanted to accomplish, which was to bring home a gold medal and I am excited to watch all of our athletes compete this summer,” the former 200 meter Commonwealth Games champion said. 

Winning medals at the Commonwealth Games is a major achievement, considering it is the third largest multi-sport event in the world – after the Olympic Games and the Asian Games. The spectacle incorporates athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, which has 53 member countries, and this year’s meet will boast Olympians like Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake. Aside from traditional Olympic disciplines like athletics and swimming, additional sports – such as netball – that are played largely in Commonwealth countries are included in the competition schedule. 

The Commonwealth Games were first held in 1930 and take place every four years. British Overseas Territories such as Cayman, Crown dependencies, and island states compete under their own flag. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – also send separate squads. As a result, there are 70 competing teams. 

The travel costs for athletes and coaches from competing nations like Cayman is being handled by the Commonwealth Games Federation, which oversees the competition and selects the host cities. In the coming weeks, the Olympic Committee will release information regarding the members of the Cayman delegation, the support team and the events local athletes will tackle. 

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Alex Pascal is part of a 10-member athletics team. – PHOTO: MATTHEW YATES