Dominic Dyer is one of the outstanding athletes in the middle-distance running group coached by Derek Larner, and that was emphasized when he won Cayman’s only medal – a bronze in the 3,000 meters – at the recent CARIFTA Games.
Dyer’s gong came in the boys Under-18 event at the Silver Jubilee Stadium in Basseterre, St. Kitts over the Easter weekend.
He finished in 9 minutes, 09.41 seconds in a race won by Keemon Lawrence (8:55:64), with his fellow Jamaican Shemar Salmon (9:03:06) taking silver.
It was an admirable run by the 16-year-old Cayman Prep pupil who was still tired from the previous night’s race when he finished fifth in the 1500m in 14:14:58.
Salmon won the 1500m, and Lawrence grabbed bronze, with Jonathan Jones of Barbados splitting them by taking the silver.
“I was really tired, but the 3000m was my target after finishing in fourth place last year,” Dyer said.
His strategy going into the race was clear: Split the field before the end because the Jamaicans were strongest finishers.
Dyer made his move with three laps left, putting in a leg-sapping burst to really test the field. It worked, and he finished 16 seconds ahead of Antigua’s Kallique St. Jean in fourth place. But on reflection, Dyer felt he may have gone a little too early.
“I was able to kill off the rest of the field, and there were three of us left in the race, so I felt I had guaranteed myself a medal. At times I wish I had made a move with 600m to go because I would have had more energy left.”
Dyer was hampered by injury in the buildup and hopes next year to do better, although the Jamaicans will be as strong as ever.
There will be some low-key meets now before he competes in the Island Games in Jersey in July, probably in the 1500m or possibly the 5000m.
“I’d love to get a medal there, but distance running at the Island Games is stronger than at CARIFTA. It will be a good field. In the meantime, I’m just concentrating on getting some good training right now.”
Although the Cayman track haul was sparse, the rest of the team came tantalizingly close to reaching the podium seven other times, where athletes finished in fourth place.
Jamal Walton, the brilliant 400m runner, and javelin ace Daneliz Thomas – both CARIFTA bronze medalists last year – did not reach the podium this time.
What with Larner’s Middle Distance Runners group and the improving form of youngsters like Walton, Thomas and Lacee Barnes, the future bodes well for Cayman track and field.