Sun | Apr 21, 2019

Caymanians’ visit pays off

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:17 AM
Lamar Reid of the Cayman Islands competing in the long jump for Calabar High in 2017.

With its Truman Bodden Sports Complex out of commission, the Cayman Islands junior team has come to Jamaica to compete as part of its build-up to hosting the Carifta Games this Easter. Assistant Cayman team coach Tyrone Yen says the Caymanians could be back for the Gibson-McCook Relays.

Speaking last Saturday at the S.W. ‘Isaac’ Henry Invitational in Kingston, Yen says the visits to Jamaica are serving their intended purpose.

“First of all, you know, we’re hosting the Carifta 2019, and, of course, we are in the preparation stage,” he began. Noting that work is under way to ready the Truman Bodden track for Carifta, he added, “So the only worthwhile thing to do is to get these kids some extra events, some extra training to get them into certain events and hopefully, by Carifta, we can have them doing what they’re supposed to do.”

The visitors also got competition practice in Kingston the previous week at the Camperdown Classic. “We got some good results. One of our boys taking the Under-20 800 metres and we did quite well in a number of heats, girls and boys spread across Classes One to Four. So all in all, I think we had a great weekend last week,” he enumerated.

That boy was Michael Smikle, who clocked one minute 55.37 seconds to win his 800m heat.

“This week, we haven’t got the results we would have liked, but of course, the objective is still met to have the kids compete, doing as much as we can possibly have them doing before Carifta,” Yen added.

The Caymanian group got some relay racing done at the Classic and might be in line for more this Saturday at the Gibson-McCook Relays. “We have plans of coming to Gibson Relays,” he said, “so we’ll see how that goes, so we have a good set of kids coming down, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Medals won

The 2019 Carifta hosts won four bronze medals when the Games first came to their islands in 1995 and took a precious gold medal when the event returned there in 2010. That was won by another athlete coached by Yen, Chantelle Morrison, in the Under-17 100 metres.

Last year in the Bahamas, the Cayman team won five medals, but with one gold, three silver and one bronze.

Like Jamaica, the Cayman Islands has its own track and field heroes. They are retired long jumper/sprinter Kareem Streete-Thompson and female sprinter Cydonie Mothersill. NCAA champion at Rice University, Streete-Thompson reached the 1999 World Championships 100m final, broke 10 seconds and leapt to the silver at the 2001 World Indoors.

Mothersill, who once attended St Andrew High School in Kingston, has a 200 metres bronze from the 2001 World Championships and gold from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Yen would have had his eye on a couple of Caymanians based here. They include high jumpers Louis Gordon of Kingston College and Lamar Reid of Calabar High School. Gordon was third in the Class One high jump last year at Boys and Girls Championships, with Reid second in Class Two.

In 2015, Reid set a still-standing Class Three record of 1.99 metres.