Athletes settle in as Games begin

Athletes from the Cayman Islands are gearing up for competition in Glasgow.

Cayman springs into action Thursday, at the XX Commonwealth Games in Scotland. Squash will take center stage as a quartet of youngsters compete in preliminary men’s and women’s singles matches at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

Daniel Murphy faces Kenya’s Hartaj Bains at 11:30 a.m. Scotland time (5:30 a.m. Cayman time), Julian Jervis battles Chris Simpson of Guernsey at noon Scotland time (6 a.m. Cayman time), Cameron Stafford challenges Christian Navas of Gibraltar at 12:30 p.m. Scotland time (6:30 a.m. Cayman time), and Eilidh Bridgeman contends with Wee Worn Low of Malaysia at 5:50 p.m. Scotland time (11:50 a.m. Cayman time).

Janet Sairsingh serves as the team manager for the squash team, which also features Myron Blair and Marlene West, and tackles the men’s and mixed doubles segments in addition to the singles event. Sairsingh, who is also part of the Cayman Islands National Squash Association, said the team is in a good place.

“Julian, having won the Under-17 Caribbean championships, is coming into these Games on a high,” Sairsingh said. “The team members are excited and they have tough games. Cameron is playing very well. If he plays in the top form that he is capable of, his first round match may very well be his first Commonwealth win.

“We are so proud to have so many young players moving up to the major senior events. It’s a testament to our junior development program.”

Most of Cayman’s Commonwealth Games team arrived in Scotland this week and took part in Wednesday night’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park. Cyclist Michele Smith served as Cayman’s flag bearer and was nominated by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, which said the selection served as a fitting moment for such a long-serving athlete.

Rock star Rod Stewart headlined the musical performers, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II making an appearance.

Aside from squash, swimming will also launch Cayman athletes into action on Thursday at the Tollcross International Swimming Center. Geoffrey Butler competes in heat two of the 400 meter freestyle at 10:54 a.m. Scotland time (4:54 Cayman time), Brett Fraser swims in heat seven of the men’s 50m butterfly at 11:58 a.m. Scotland time (5:58 Cayman time), Lara Butler tackles heat two of the women’s 100m fly at 12:05 p.m. Scotland time (6:05 a.m. Cayman time) and Alex McCallum competes in heat three of the men’s 100m backstroke at 12:21 p.m. Scotland time (6:21 a.m. Cayman time).

Bailey Weathers serves as team manager for the swimming team, which also features David Ebanks and Lauren Hew. Cayman’s technical director for swimming says the athletes are in a position to excel.

“The kids are excited and relaxed – the perfect combination,” Weathers said. “There are a lot of great swimmers here, but our kids are really ready to do well. We have four swims the first day. All are important for each person but not their best event. Actually, it is a great way to start the meet. I believe we are in a position to have a great first day and set the tone for the meet.”

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