As the Cayman Islands National Women’s Basketball team prepares to leave for the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar, a look at the team’s past performances is in order.
The Cayman ladies are certainly no strangers to the podium at the Island Games.
The first three years that the Cayman women competed at the games brought great success, with the team medalling on each occasion, under the guidance of then-Head Coach Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro.
The Cayman team made an enormous impression when they won gold in their very first tournament appearance in 2001, in the Isle of Man. They subsequently earned bronze in Guernsey 2003, and gold again in Shetland Isles/Gibraltar in 2005.
That run of success ended in the 2007 games in Rhodes, Greece, where Cayman placed 8th.
The women did not compete in 2009 through 2013, but returned to the fray in 2015, in Jersey, where Cayman placed 5th.
In 2017 in Gotland, Sweden, the women came close to the podium, facing Guernsey for the bronze medal. The Guernsey side, however, proved too experienced for the young Cayman squad on this occasion.
President of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Richard Parchment said, “This Cayman National Women’s team has history to repeat as medal contenders. Watching their [male counterparts] in 2017 finally pull off what they have done twice in the past has reignited this team, so July in Gibraltar should be an exciting time for Cayman basketball.”
O’Garro, who is now technical tirector for basketball, said the women’s team is in a rebuilding stage, but he has confidence that they will find success soon. “Our women are in preparation right now to regain their rightful place on the podium. They have not been on that podium since 2005. However, last year the team placed fourth, just missing medal contention. We look forward to the ladies doing an extremely good job this year in Gibraltar.”
This year, the National Women’s Team consists of Courtisha Ebanks, Hannah Parchment, Scimone Campbell, Khailan O’Connor, Michal Segal, Dionne Anglin, Yolanni Manzanares, Alicia Turner, Melissa Bridgemohan, Stacy-Ann Kelly, Chloe Powery-Doxey and Neandra Forbes.
The team’s coaches are Wendy Manzanares and Cory McGee, and the team manager is Melissa Smith.
Coach Manzanares is very excited to see things coming together in the women’s team as preparations continue.
She said, “The last time the women’s team was on the podium at the Island Games was 2005, with Gold. We did not compete in 2009, 2011 or 2013, and in 2017 we placed 4th, so now our team is at a stage of rebuilding and expecting to regain our place on the podium in the near future. The journey is the most important thing, and we are definitely aiming to leave a mark.”
The NatWest Island Games is held every two years and is an international multi-sports event with competitor teams representing island communities with population of no more than 150,000 people. The 18th annual games will be held in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, from 6-12 July 2019.