Morgan Lloyd, Sami Peene, Raegan Rutty and Igor Magalhaes will represent the Cayman Islands at two international gymnastics competitions this month.
The team of Lloyd, Peene and Magalhaes, with coaches Kelley Paz and Mikey Malin, will travel to Gotland, Sweden, for the NatWest Island Games from June 24-30.
This will be Lloyd’s third Island Games. She first competed at the age of 14 in Bermuda and went on to win two bronze medals at the Inter-Island Games in Ynys Mon, Wales, in 2015. Lloyd represented the Cayman Islands at the 2014 Youth Olympics, 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 World Championships.
Peene and Magalhaes both brought home medals from Ynys Mon in 2015. Magalhaes competed in the junior division, but at 14, will step up to the Men’s division in Gotland. Since the 2015 Games, Peene has competed at the 2016 Junior Pan American Championships and the 2016 Junior Commonwealth Championships, where she earned a place in the event finals on floor and set a national all-around record.
Rutty, with coach Edward Umphrey, will travel to Guatemala for the Central American Sports Festival from June 23 to July 3 when she hopes to earn a qualifying spot for the Cayman Islands at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Championships. Rutty also competed at the 2015 Inter-Island Games, the 2016 Junior Pan American Championships and the 2016 Junior Commonwealth Championships and holds the national record on vault.
The Cayman Islands is a relative newcomer to gymnastics on the international circuit.
Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association President Toni Pinkerton said in a press release, “Cayman was officially recognized by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique and the Pan American Gymnastics Union in 2013. This opened doors for a highly motivated and talented group of young athletes who seized the opportunity and exceeded all expectations in the international arena.”
For all of these athletes, the NatWest Island Games has always been a favorite event, the press release states, and has also served as a major stepping stone toward competing in major international events against some the best athletes in the world.
Through the Nat West Sports Development Programme, CIGA was able to access funding focused on the development of the program and the local coaches.
The program allowed the Federation to bring top international judges and coaches to Cayman to run a series of clinics that focused on working with local coaches, qualified under the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Program to advance their knowledge of international standards, the development of national team athletes and establishing a development plan for younger competitive team gymnasts, the press release states.