Cayman sparkles on final day of Special Olympics

11 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals for Cayman

Cayman's basketball team overcame adversity on its way to a medal.

Cayman punctuated the final day of the Special Olympics World Games with a slam dunk.

The athletics team took home three golds and a silver Wednesday, and the swimming team won two bronze. Cayman won gold in its division of unified doubles bocce, and the unified basketball team topped their bronze medal from four years ago by prevailing in the gold medal game against India.

Fareed Hosein, coach of the basketball team, spoke briefly about the victory on Wednesday.

“We had bronze in Los Angeles,” he said, “But this was quite a step up to gold.”

Cayman won 11 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals over the course of the World Games.

The basketball team dedicated its win to one of its members, Albert Bodden, who died last year, and the entire delegation was competing in honour of the late swim coach Penny McDowall.

The basketball team was shorthanded and exhausted after playing its run of games over the last week, but was pushed to overtime by a skilled team from India on Wednesday.

“It was quite a journey. The guys were very excited,” said Hosein. “We played India in the finals, and they were a big, strong team. Our athletes played an almost flawless game to win in overtime.”

Matthew Ebanks, Jaheim Ebanks and Beaver ‘Julius’ Smith won gold medals in their respective divisions of the 800-metre dash on Wednesday, and Cayman earned silver in the 4×100 relay.

Anechell Newman took home a bronze medal in the 50-metre backstroke, and Alec Brice Cox, Dayana Powery, Keanu McKenzie and Matthew Morta Javier swam to a bronze in the 4×50 mixed relay.

Khalid Arana and Nadesha Kelly prevailed on Wednesday to take gold in bocce.

For Hosein, the ruling emotion on Wednesday was exhilaration and pride. His talented team had encountered adversity and exhaustion along the way to the finals and had overcome it to become champions of the World Games.

“We dedicated the win to Albert Bodden and Penny McDowall,” he said. “It’s a big deal for us to come away with gold, and we were wearing black stripes on our uniforms in their honour.”

The closing ceremonies for the Special Olympics World Games will take place Thursday, and Cayman’s delegation is scheduled to land at Owen Roberts International Airport Saturday at 5:50 p.m.