Pan Am Games blocks Cayman athletes

Several Cayman Islands athletes were left disappointed after being dropped on short notice from competing at the Pan American Games now under way in Canada. 

Sprinters Tyrell Cuffy, Karim Murray, Jerome Bodden and Perry Anglin, who had been preparing for months for the Games in Toronto as a 4x100m relay team, were told they would not be making the trip, when they returned from the Island Games last week. The Pan Am Games started last Friday and run until July 26. 

The organizers could accommodate only 10,000 athletes from 41 countries, but many more qualified, Dalton Watler, president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Athletics Association, said. 

Competitors from the smaller nations like Cayman were cut, whereas the United States and Jamaica were not affected. 

The Cayman Islands Amateur Athletics Association was informed which athletes would not be going to the Pan Am Games when they were at the Island Games. In order to avoid distracting them and affecting their performances, they were not told until they returned home on July 6. 

Only seven Cayman athletes made the trip: 100-meter sprinter Kemar Hyman and 110m hurdler Ronald Forbes, beach volleyball players Chante Smith-Johnson and Illean Powery, gymnast Morgan Lloyd and swimmers Brett Fraser and Lara Butler. 

Mr. Watler said the quota at the Games had to be reduced because it was oversubscribed. 

“Most of the athletes are not traveling to Toronto because the organizers had issues with the numbers,” he said. “We are upset, having made all the arrangements for them and then, at the last minute, the organizers pulled the plug.” 

The association did not lose any money as the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee was provided the money for the athletes from the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund. 

“The CIOC paid for everything, so we didn’t have to absorb the costs,” Mr. Watler said. 

Mr. Cuffy, 26, was especially disappointed because he was in fine form having won the 100 meters and 200m at the Island Games in Jersey a couple of weeks ago. 

“It hurts,” Mr. Cuffy said. “I have a bunch of friends from other countries who qualified too who were dropped as well.” 

He said that they all took to social media to express their disappointment. 

“Coach Kenrick Williams had me on a very strict program,” Mr. Cuffy added. “Although my 100m time at the Island Games was slow, there were many reasons for that. But I still got the gold.” 

He said he is now focusing on his next major meet, the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee did not respond to requests for comment by press time Tuesday. 


Tyrell Cuffy is upset.


Mr. Watler


  1. I”m not really a sports watcher.

    But it seems to me that it would be fairer for big countries like the USA to drop a couple of competitors from the hundreds they will send than for our tiny island to lose half our competitors.

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