The 21 athletes who represented the Cayman Islands at the XXI Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia from April 4-15, have all packed up and returned home.
“The greatest honor for an athlete is to be selected to represent their country internationally, and you guys have done it very well,” said Donald McLean, president of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, which doubles as Cayman’s Commonwealth Games Association.
Among the highlights for Team Cayman over the 11 days of the Games were sprinter Kemar Hyman winning his heats and semifinal races before finishing fifth in the 100-meter sprint, and Christopher Jackson finishing 8th of 40 competitors in the sport shooting trap competition.
On the squash court, Cameron Stafford bounced back after being eliminated from the main draw to win four straight matches to advance to the consolation final. He fell to Joe Chapman of the British Virgin Islands to be the runner-up in the non-medal aspect of the competition. He later teamed up with Marlene West to progress from the group stage of the mixed doubles tournament for the first time.
In the swimming pool, Lauren Hew made it to the semifinal of the women’s 50-meter freestyle. She swam a personal best in the heats and did so again in the 50-meter butterfly. Alison Jackson also set a personal best in the 400-meter freestyle and Iain McCallum equalled his previous best time in the 50-meter butterfly.
“We did not win any medals. Thirty-four other countries did not win any either. So, it’s not about medals,” Mr. McLean told the Cayman Islands athletes at a lunch held in their honor. “Only a small percentage of athletes win medals, but competing, the camaraderie, building better fellowship, and basically making you better human beings for a better society, that’s the role of sports.”
With competitors in seven sports – athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash, and swimming – Mr. McLean said that was an accomplishment for one of the smaller territories in the Commonwealth. “There are very few other Caribbean islands that have that type of diversity,” he noted.
Before presenting Kemar Hyman with a certificate of merit from the Commonwealth Games Association for his fifth place finish in the sprint marquee, the Olympic Committee president told the team: “What’s important is that you competed to the best of your ability on that day, and more importantly that you enjoyed yourself and you represented Cayman in a very positive manner. For that, we are winners.”
The athletes who competed at the Games were:
- Athletics: Ronald Forbes, Kemar Hyman, Carl Morgan, Alex Pascal
- Boxing: Brandy Barnes, Dariel Ebanks
- Cycling: Michael Testori
- Gymnastics: Sami Peene, Raegan Rutty.
- Shooting: Christopher Jackson
- Squash: Eilidh Bridgeman, Caroline Laing, Alex Frazer, Jacob Kelly, Samantha Hennings, Cameron Stafford, Marlene West
- Swimming: David Ebanks, Lauren Hew, Alison Jackson, Iain McCallum