Cayman Islands athletes performed on a massive stage and competed against some of the best talent in the world at last week’s Youth Commonwealth Games.
Nine Cayman athletes – four track and field competitors, three swimmers and two boxers – competed in the Bahamas, which had also jointly hosted this year’s CARIFTA games. At that competition in April, Cayman’s swimmers won 47 medals and the track team added another six medals.
This time, though, the team ran up against some stellar competition. They did not come home with medals. None of Cayman’s three swimmers advanced out of the heats and into the finals in any of their events.
“They faced some of the fastest swimmers they [have] faced in their lives. They stood up. They did great,” coach Darren Mew said. “It’s not easy facing some of the toughest swimmers in their age group and swimming your best times. We can’t ask for much more.”
Cayman boxer Alexander Smith lost his lone bout, and Chambria Dalhouse moved forward with a bye before losing to Scottish boxer Megan Elizabeth Gordon in the quarterfinals.
Fifteen-year-old Lemar Reid came the closest to winning a medal by finishing fourth in the finals of the high jump. Seventeen-year-old Rasheem Brown finished sixth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Sixteen-year-old Aijah Davaun Lewis finished seventh in the girls high jump, and 16-year-old Claudina Morgan was knocked out in her qualifying heat for the girls 400-meter dash.
England was the top medal winner at the Youth Commonwealth Games, taking home 23 golds and 51 medals overall. Australia finished second in gold medals (14) and overall medals (39), and New Zealand finished third overall with 31 medals and in a three-way tie for the third-most gold medals (eight).
The Cayman national team will be aiming for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia, and Mew said the Youth Commonwealth Games were a step in the right direction.
“As a team, they were perfectly behaved, a pleasure to be around. They’re a credit to Cayman,” he said. “Getting the experience here, it’s just slightly smaller than the real Commonwealth Games. They’ve got the experience in the bank now, so it won’t feel as strange at the bigger meets.”