Cayman’s Olympic Committee has a new home, thanks to a crucial assist from the Panam Sports organization. Cayman opened its new Olympic House – the first permanent facility of its kind – on Thursday with a brief ceremony that featured speeches from some visiting dignitaries.
The facility, located at the Cayman Business Park, was made possible by a contribution of US$400,000 from Panam Sports’ Olympamerica Program and Infrastructure Program. Neven Ilic, president of Panam Sports, said Thursday that he was thrilled to be able to assist the local sports authority.
“One year ago, we decided to meet with each of the different Olympic committees to mainly understand what is the real situation in each of the countries and in what way we can help to develop sport,” he said. “We had an important meeting with the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and we decided to go step-by-step growing sports here in the islands.
“This is the first step to give the Olympic Committee a chance to own the new building for sport. Then we’re working on how to support the athletes.”
The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee previously operated out of office space donated by its president Donald McLean. The new space will provide offices, a training area and a mini-museum depicting the history of local Olympians.
Mr. McLean was not present at Thursday’s ceremony, but he previously told the Cayman Compass that the space cost $345,000 to purchase and another $25,000 in renovations.
Thursday’s ceremony featured three-time Olympic cyclist Craig Merren as master of ceremonies, and several of Cayman’s past Olympians were given certificates commemorating their achievements.
Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly could not be at Thursday’s ceremony, but she sent a statement that was read aloud by her ministry’s senior policy adviser, Joel Francis.
“I must commend the invaluable work done by the committee for local athletes and I hope that this house will allow you to create a hub for athletes where they can learn and grow with each other,” the statement said. “I applaud Pan Am Sports for providing the grant needed to make this a reality and also for the financial assistance provided by the national federations.
“As we all know, these type of endeavors take a village of passionate, like-minded people, and I’m happy to know that your dedication to the advancement of all local athletes on the global stage has been rewarded.”