Kayon Clarke hopes she can hold her own on the international stage for Cayman netball.
Clarke, 30, is a member of the national women’s team and has been in the sport for the past 18 years, playing the last five years for All Stars netball club. She says she is excited for this opportunity.
“I am honored to be a part of Cayman Islands squad, just to be given the opportunity to represent this beautiful country I call home,” Clarke said. “Calgary will be my first international experience. I am excited at the chance to gain more exposure in the sport, see first-hand how top level netball is different from what we see here on the Island and I will do my best to ensure that the other countries know that Cayman is there to compete at the highest level.
“My expectation for myself and the squad going into the tournament is to go in with a positive and an open mind that we can win and play to the best of our ability until the last whistle.”
The Cayman Islands Netball Association is preparing its top ladies for the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations Championship on August 19-29. The Calgary tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Netball Championships in Australia, with the top teams earning automatic berths. Cayman is among the association’s member countries in the Americas region.
Clarke is one of 13 girls on the roster, the others are: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Katherine Gow, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson. The group has been training since January.
This is the first women’s team Cayman has fielded at an international event in years. While the ladies have significant experience on the local scene, few have competed on the international level, with Carias, Webb and Rosemarie Wilson competing for Cayman’s national Under-21 team at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland.
Clarke, listed at 5-feet, 7-inches, plays wing attack, center and wing defense for the Conyers All Stars in Cayman’s national women’s league.
Funding has been an issue for the trip as the association is short roughly $38,000 for the trip. According to association secretary Onicia Mitchell, a total of $60,000 is needed and in the past few months, approximately $22,000 has been raised through events such as fish fries.