Men’s basketball team returns victorious

Cayman’s winning basketball team returned home Monday afternoon with their second consecutive gold medal from the Island Games.

With a 75-63 victory over the Estonian island of Saaremaa, the men’s team clenched one of 11 gold medals for team Cayman at the XVIII NatWest International Island Games in Gibraltar. Overall, the Cayman Islands claimed 30 medals – 11 gold, 10 silver, and nine bronze – at the tournament.

The basketball team previously won gold at the 2017 Island Games in Gotland, Sweden.

“It was a great experience. As the youngest player on the team, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a great experience and we won the gold, so I can’t complain,” said basketball player Kai Robinson upon the team’s return to Grand Cayman on Monday.

The men’s basketball programme has medalled during six out of 10 appearances at the Islands Games, including four silver medals and two golds, according to the Cayman Islands Basketball Association.

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Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly described their victory as a David versus Goliath match up.

“But they put in that equity sweat,” the minister said. “They were determined that they were going to win, and win they did. I’m so excited. The whole country, indeed, is proud of their performance.”

Now the men’s team has the 2020 Caribbean Basketball Confederation tournament to prepare for.

Members and supporters of the men’s basketball team gather Monday at Owen Roberts International Airport. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

“For the team, we’re just going to build upon this. We’re going out to CBC … and if we do that, we can qualify for the Olympics. We’re just building team chemistry and going to keep doing our thing,” Robinson said.

Teammate Joshua O’Garro said his first time representing Cayman at the games was a special experience that allowed him to deepen his appreciation of the sport.

“You can’t take basketball for granted. You can’t take what you have for granted,” O’Garro said. “Everyone works hard to get where they are and we worked really hard for this. So I’m very proud.”

Cayman also claimed six gold medals in squash, two in athletics and two in swimming.

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