The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee celebrated the departure of Cayman athletes to major meets this summer.
Members of the local sporting fraternity gathered last Saturday at Ortanique restaurant in Camana Bay to mark the Olympic Committee sending participants to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to Aug. 3 and the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China from Aug. 16 to 28.
For the first time ever, 26 athletes will be competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games for Cayman. They will compete in seven disciplines – athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash and swimming. Olympic Committee President Donald McLean says this group of athletes – with most of them heading to Scotland this week – have already succeeded in making the team.
“We send the athletes away to do as good as possible,” McLean said. “There is way too much focus on winning; it’s about going out there and the highest honor is to be asked to represent your country. If you’re in Scotland, you’ve already won.”
In athletics, Cayman will sport Tyrell Cuffy, Ronald Forbes, David Hamil, Kemar Hyman, Troy Long, Carl Morgan, Carlos Morgan and Ashleigh Nalty. 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. Boxer Tafari Ebanks, gymnast Bethany Dikau and cyclist Michele Smith round out the competitors.
Javelin thrower Alex Pascal, 19, had been selected for the team but is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Sprinter Rhymiech Adolphus was also selected but is unable to attend.
Those athletes will be cheered on in Glasgow by three local dignitaries: Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Minister of Sports Osbourne Bodden and chief officer for the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth and Culture Jennifer Ahearn. Local athletes will be in action from 10:47 a.m. Scotland time or 4:47 a.m. Cayman time on July 24, with Geoffrey Butler first up in the men’s 400 meter heats. The opening ceremony is from 8 p.m. Scotland time (2 p.m. Cayman time) from Celtic Park on July 23, with the closing ceremony at the same time at Hampden Park on Aug. 3.
For the Youth Olympics, six athletes will be heading to Nanjing on August 11. Youngsters between the ages of 16 and 18 will represent Cayman in athletics, equestrian, sailing and swimming. Among them is track and field prodigy Pearl Morgan, 16, who says she is excited.
“Coming from a small island, we still have great athletes and we want to show others that we can make it big,” Morgan said.