Injury will keep Jamal Walton from Olympic glory.
The track star will sit out the upcoming 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China on Aug. 16-28. Walton suffered a left hamstring strain last month and pulled out of the 400m semifinals at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee confirmed the decision in a statement, which read: “Jamal Walton recently suffered a strained hamstring at the world junior championships and although he is expected to fully recover before the 2015 season, it will not allow him to compete or travel with the Olympic Games team as once hoped.”
Walton was a major medal hopeful after racking up a string of accolades in recent weeks. Walton won the boys 15-16 400 meter title at the Amateur Athletic Union Championships in Orlando, Florida, posting times of 46.97 seconds (preliminaries) and 47.36 secs (final). The St. Thomas Aquinas High School sophomore also broke Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s 400m record at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Morelia, Mexico. He won gold in 47.01 secs, eclipsing the old mark of 47.17 secs set by Bolt 12 years ago.
With Walton out, the Olympic Committee is now sending six athletes and five team officials across four disciplines – athletics, equestrian, gymnastics and sailing. On the track, Pearl Morgan will compete in the 200m Equestrian rider Polly Serpell jumps in the individual competition. Morgan Lloyd, the squad’s youngest member at 15 years old, tackles the individual all-around artistic gymnastics event and sailors Florence Allan and Pablo Bertran compete in the one person dingy segment.
Most of the team is expected to arrive in China on Aug. 13, after leaving Cayman on Monday. Cayman is first in action on Aug. 18, with Serpell leading the charge.
Among the Cayman delegation are Chef de Mission Heather Roffey, sailing coach Raphael Harvey and equestrian coach Mary McTaggart. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. Beijing time (7 a.m. Cayman time) on Aug. 16 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center stadium. The closing ceremony is on Aug. 28.