Track athlete Matthew Ebanks won a gold medal in the 400 meters for the Cayman Islands at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The gold medal win coincided with Ebanks’s 24th birthday. He ran it in a personal best time of 55.21 seconds, four seconds ahead of the second place athlete.
In an interview with the Cayman Compass last week at the Owen Roberts International Airport, Ebanks said he was supremely confident. He took the lead from the second bend and increased the gap all the to the finish line. He is also in the 800m.
There was more celebrating for the Cayman team on Thursday after the aquatics team won bronze in the 4x50m medley relay. It was won by the quartet of Kanza Bodden, Kathryn Kleinworth-Whorms, Keanu McKenzie and Hamish Wood.
The day before, Aquatics coach Penny McDowall said she was thrilled with Kathryn Kleinworth-Whorms earning a silver in the 100m meters freestyle and a bronze in the 100m backstroke.
“Kathryn faced some stiff competition on the 100m free, but she gave a gallant effort and came out with a silver,” Ms. McDowall said,
Ms. McDowall was also pleased with Ms. Kleinworth-Whorms for her bronze and Keanu McKenzie who won gold and bronze earlier in the Games and just missed medals in the 100m freestyle.
“Keanu wasn’t so lucky in his [100m freestyle] division but still swam well and came in fourth,” she said. “Hamish [Wood] dropped two seconds on his 100m free and came seventh.”
“It was a great sight to behold” to see her swimmers on the podium and she was “very proud,” Ms. McDowall said.
Sports minister Osbourne Bodden, who is at the Games, said, “This is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I have a renewed respect for Special Olympics and the hard-working coaches, volunteers and athletes. Something everyone should see and experience.”
Cayman’s 28 athletes are competing in athletics, bocce, basketball, football and aquatics.
Open water swimmers Andrew Smilley and Kanza Bodden were in the 1,500m race Thursday, but races were not completed by press time.