A record number of track and field athletes will represent the Cayman Islands at the 48th annual CARIFTA Games this year.
With the Caribbean-wide sporting event coming to home soil over Easter weekend, April 20-22, 52 young people will don the Cayman colours at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Cayman’s athletes will be defending their medal count from the 2018 games in the Bahamas, where the team won five medals, including a gold, three silver and a bronze.
After months of training at World Gym and the John Gray sports field, Cayman’s athletes are hoping the home advantage will mean even greater success this year, said Lance Barnes, president of the Cayman Islands Athletics Association.
“You’ve worked hard, you’ve trained hard, and next week will be the shining moment,” Barnes told athletes Wednesday afternoon, when the official team roster was made public.
“Every year, we take back at least six or seven medals from the CARIFTA games, but this year we are home and we have the biggest team ever assembled. I’m sure we’ll do better than last year. I’m very optimistic. The future looks bright,” he said.
Athletes on this year’s team were chosen for their consistency in training, explained Barnes, who highlighted one athlete in particular to keep an eye on – Rasheem Brown, competing in the 110m hurdles.
“We might see some new records. I’m very excited about the 110 hurdles with Rasheem Brown, because as you know, he has been doing quite well this year,” Barnes said.
The Cayman athletes will face more than 500 competitors from at least 26 other CARIFTA member countries. Participation from Belize has yet to be confirmed.
Cayman Airways will be running a special route from Barbados to facilitate arrivals from across the Caribbean.
Tickets for the main grandstand are nearly sold out, advised assistant chief officer Joel Francis, standing in at Wednesday’s press conference for Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.
Most remaining tickets are for the Mackie Seymour Stand. Around 70 percent of ticket sales have been local, with the remainder selling mostly to visitors from the Caribbean and southern United States.
In the coming week, final touches will be made on renovations to the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, including installation of new track and field equipment and completion of a parking area.
Francis said inspections from the regional governing body have given Cayman’s facilities “clean bills of health”.
“We’re really looking forward to what is going to be a festival of track, come next weekend,” he said.
For more information about CARIFTA Cayman 2019 and to purchase tickets, visit www.caymanCARIFTA2019.ky.
Editor’s note: The above table omitted two entries from the Under 20 Boys section: Wyatt Bodden in the 1500m event and Victor Magalhaes in the 5000m event.