Cayman’s Carifta athletes celebrated a double success this week, capturing an impressive number of medals in Curacao and the Bahamas and winning the bid to host the 2019 Carifta Games.
Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden confirmed Cayman’s selection to host the regional track and field events, and said it was possible Cayman could host the swimming as well, if a new pool is completed on time.
“We are doing well sports-wise,” Mr. Bodden said. “We have the track and field facilities, and our athletes will perform even better at home. We will also have the room stock on island as additional rooms are being built … as we speak.
“Maybe we will even be in a position to host the swimming, if our goals come through with the 50-meter pool plans.”
He added that Cayman’s athletes currently compete in a 25m pool. With a 50m pool, he anticipates that training and capability will only improve.
On Wednesday, Cayman’s track and field team flew into Owen Roberts International Airport after winning six medals, including three gold, at the games in Curacao from April 15-17.
Shot put gold medalist Lacee Barnes, 17, said the competition brought some surprises for her.
“This Carifta was really interesting for me. I came fourth in the discus, which is actually my favorite and best event. I lost out by .6 centimeters but came back the next day and won the gold in shot put, which is actually my weaker event,” she said.
Teammate Rasheem Brown, 17, said his focus and confidence helped him win silver in the 110m, in his third Carifta games. He will travel to Kenya in July to compete in the World U-18 Championships.
The Cayman team came sixth overall in the track and field medal count.
Other medalists were Dominic Dyer, who won gold in the U-20 5,000m and bronze in the 1,500m, and Jamal Walton, who won gold in U-20 200m and silver in the 400m.
Youth and Sports Assistant Chief Officer Joel Francis said the results were fantastic, considering the level of competition in the Caribbean.
“The Caribbean has been producing world-class track and field athletes for a number of years now. When you compete in the Caribbean, you are in effect competing against the best in the world. That really emphasizes the quality of the medals we won,” he said.
Record wins for swim team
Meanwhile, Cayman swimmers won a record 47 medals in the pool competitions at the Carifta Swimming Championships in Nassau, The Bahamas, from April 15-18.
The open water events were scheduled for Wednesday, April 19.
Of the medals won by the Cayman swimmers, organizers said in a press release, “This is significant, as the last time we came close to this number of medals was in 2004 when the team traveled to Nassau and brought 46 medals home … so … 13 years later, set the bar just a little higher.”
In 2004, there was no open water swim, “so the 47 earned this year versus the 46 earned in 2004 is ‘apples to apples’ and a record,” organizers said.
Cayman swimmers also placed top three in a number of age groups.
In the pool finals on Tuesday:
In the 400 meter freestyle, Avery Lambert took silver, and the 13-14 age group, Ria Plunkett and Zachary Moore each won bronze medals. In the 15-17 age group, Lauren Hew won gold and Jonathan Key placed fifth.
In the 50m freestyle, 11-12 age group, Corey Frederick-Westerborg won bronze among male swimmers. Alison Jackson took gold in the 13-14 age group.
In the 100m breaststroke, Carmella Ylagan (11-12), Sabine Ellison (13-14) and Ella Plunkett (15-17) each placed fourth in their division.
Lauren Hew (15-17 age group) and Avery Lambert (11-12) each won gold in the 200m backstroke.
In the 4x50m free relay, Samantha Bailey (15-17) won bronze.
“A phenomenal performance … Quite amazing and kudos to all,” Minister Bodden said in a congratulatory email to the team organizers.
For full results in the swimming events, visit http://oldsite.bahamasswimmingfederation.com/liveresults/.